Assessing the development of communciation skills in undergraduate medical students

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63 Citations (Scopus)


Context The teaching of clinical communication skills' teaching has become an important part of medical school curricula. Many undergraduate medical courses include communication skills training at various points in their curriculum. Very few reports have been published on the development of communication skills over the duration of a medical undergraduate training.

Aims To determine the change in communication skills between early and mid-stages of the students' 5-year curriculum, and to investigate the predictive and theoretical significance of knowledge and understanding of communication skills in relation to observed performance.

Participants Students entering as the first cohort to the new medical curriculum at Liverpool Medical School (n=207). Nine students withdrew leaving 198 students who completed two summative assessments in June 1997 (level 1) and November 1998 (level 2).

Statistical analysis Repeated measures multivariate ANOVAS were applied to the main study data to detect any change in performance between levels 1 and 2.

Results and conclusions An improvement in communication skills was found in medical students over 17 months of their undergraduate teaching: that is from the level 1 to the level 2 assessment. Knowledge and understanding of communication skills at initial assessment did not show the predicted association with performance at level 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2001


  • cohort studies
  • communication
  • curriculum
  • education, medical, undergraduate
  • educational measurement
  • Great Britain
  • multivariate analysis
  • 1ST-YEAR


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