“Fundamental communication skills in medical practice” as minor elective subject

Amra Zalihić, Edita Černi-Obrdalj


Objective. Poor and inadequate communication affects the therapeutic relationship between doctors and patients. Guided by this idea, we organized a minor elective course entitled “communication skills”. We wanted to bring closer to the students the holistic approach of the family physician to the patient, the importance of the family, its impact on the patient and vice versa, and the significance of the local community and its influence on an individual’s health. The aim of this article is to explain how we organized this elective course. Methods. The course was organized in the form of 12 hours of theory (3 lectures and 9 seminars) and 24 hours of practical training. There were 26 students from all years. Through theory, and even more through the practical part the students met with different types of patients. Results. At the end of the course, students in lower years were evaluated by means of an interview, and graduate students through a practical test – a conversation with a patient. The initial results, including the students’ grading of this course, were highly encouraging. Both teachers and students were highly satisfied on completion of the course. Conclusion. Content on communication training is rare in teaching. Practicing communication skills will empower the doctor - patient therapeutic relationship.


Family practice; Health communication; Physician-patient relations; Medical students.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5644/ama2006-124.105


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