Investigating the key factors in designing a communication skills program for medical students: A qualitative study
Introduction: Medical students have a serious need to acquire communication skills with others. In many medical schools, special curriculums are developed to improve such skills. Effective training of communication skills requires expert curriculum design. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences and views of experts and stakeholders in order to design a suitable training program in communication skills for medical students.
Methods: The content analysis approach was used in this qualitative study. Forty-three participants were selected from the faculty, nurses, physicians, residents, and medical students at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences using purposive sampling. The data were collected through focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews. To ensure the accuracy of the data, the criteria of credibility, transferability, dependability, and conformability were met. The data were analyzed by MAXQDA software using the Graneheim & Lundman model.
Results: The findings of this study consisted of two main themes, i.e., “The vast nature of the present communication skills training" and “administrative requirements of the training program regarding communication skills.” The first theme included the educational needs of students, the problems associated with training people to have good communication skills, the importance of good communication skills in performing professional duties, communication skills and job requirements, the learning environment of communication skills, and the status of existing training programs for communication skills. Strategies and suitable methods for teaching communication skills and methods of evaluating the students in this regard also were obtained.
Conclusion: The findings of this study were the elements required to design a proper and local model to teach communication skills to medical students through analyzing the concepts of effective communication. The results of this study can be useful for medical faculties in designing a proper program for teaching medical students how to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.