Patient-centredness from education to practice : the lived impact of communication skills training
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Medical teacher. - Cambridge, Mass., 1972, currens
, p. e338-e348
University of Antwerp
Background: Although communication skills training (CST) enhances patient-centred skills and attitudes, the literature indicates a problematic transfer of these from education into practice. Aim: We explored lived experiences of medical students and doctors to gain a better understanding of the impact of CST on patient-centredness in the transition to real practice. Methods: From a phenomenological perspective, we conducted 15 interviews and 11 focus groups with 49 participants/group (n = 67) at two universities and carried out constant comparative analysis. Results: The gap between education and practice is the central phenomenon. Although CST raises students communication awareness and self-efficacy in an ideal context, this paradoxically seems to jeopardize their ability to bridge the gulf. In addition, CST does not come to grips with students attitudes. However, CST appears to be successful in equipping students with long-lasting handles. Yet students need more support to mould the provided ideal models into their own unique style of context-specific patient-centred behaviour. This implies: raising students awareness of own attitudes and communication styles, offering a more realistic training ground, integrating CST with clinical experience and translating the primary-care-rooted concept of patient-centredness into various specialization contexts. Conclusion: CST could raise its impact by supporting students recycling processes towards a personal style of context-sensitive patient-centredness.