Can undergraduate education have an effect on the ways in which pre-registration house officers conceptualise communication?

Sarah C Willis, Alison Jones, Paul A O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims In 1994 Manchester Medical School introduced a learner‐centred course using problem‐based learning (PBL), which emphasises effective communication skills. This study explored how 2 cohorts of graduates conceptualised communication within their role as pre‐registration house officer (PRHOs).

Methods Graduates from the last year of the traditional and first year of the new course were interviewed 3 months after starting work. They were asked how well their courses had prepared them for working as PRHOs and were given a specific question about communication skills. Interviews were tape‐recorded, transcribed, coded and analysed.

Results In all, 24 traditional course graduates (TCGs) and 23 new course graduates (NCGs) were interviewed. Traditional course graduates tended to conceptualise communication as informing people rather than as involving negotiation or having therapeutic effects. Most TCGs considered good communicators ‘were born that way’ and did not think communication skills could be learned. Many NCGs had a richer concept of communication that recognised communication has therapeutic benefits for patients and involved negotiation. They understood it was possible to teach communication skills. However, a minority of NCGs conceptualised communication in a similar way to TCGs.

Conclusion Our study suggests that the new course has helped NCGs acquire a more complex concept of communication in their role as PRHOs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-608
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Education
Volume37
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

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