Student-informed directives for clinical communication skills training in undergraduate healthcare programmes: Perspectives from a South African university
Background. Clinical communication skills (CCS) are fundamental to good-quality healthcare and health outcomes, but remain problematic for healthcare students – in particular in the multilingual, multicultural South African context. As CCS can be taught, the importance of CCS training in healthcare programmes, as the basis of clinical practice, is well known.
Objectives. To suggest practical, student-informed directives for CCS training, we explored current challenges of undergraduate healthcare students and their CCS training.
Methods. The research was conducted in two phases. A mixed-methods approach was followed in phase 1, including a questionnaire survey (n=38) and semi-structured interviews (n=19), among third-year physiotherapy students. A quantitative questionnaire survey was conducted in phase 2 among final-year allied healthcare students (n=105).
Results. Results from phase 1 indicated that students found it difficult to communicate with other members of the healthcare team (64%) and with patients’ families (82%). Students indicated that language barriers influenced their treatment of patients negatively. In phase 2 of the research, only 43% of students indicated previous exposure to CCS training, and they supported the inclusion of specific CCS training methods throughout their undergraduate education.
Conclusions. CCS training directives, which are specifically focused on patient, family, interdisciplinary and written communication and enhancement of the student voice in the training, are suggested for inclusion in undergraduate healthcare programmes.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the AJHPE is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The AJHPE does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors. The corresponding author should also indicate if the research forms part of a postgraduate short report, dissertation or thesis.
Previously published imagesIf an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.