Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Place of Publication

Perth, Western Australia


Hussey, T., Finn, M., & Hauck, Y. (1995). Caring communication: strategies and skills for health professionals. Perth, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


Over the last 15 years, the teaching of professional interpersonal communication skills has become well established within the curriculum for most health professionals. Recognition is thereby given to the significance of interpersonal communication skills in professional practice. One of the challenges in teaching and learning in this area of skill is the recognition and analysis of examples of both good and bad practice. This package provides a number of such examples.

The package consists of 33 vignettes in health care settings. These vignettes variously depict skills or groups of skills, illustrate negative and dysfunctional communication behaviours and, through the print materials, raise issues and topics for discussion, reading and further learning. The materials can be used by individual students and by both small and large groups with or without a facilitator.

All the scenarios are simulated. In the vignettes, some of the characters are portrayed by professional actors and some by health professionals. In some vignettes, communication behaviours are deliberately accentuated. Any perceived exaggeration or emphasis in the acting can be constructively used by the facilitator to generate discussion about the behaviours observed. The vignettes concentrate on skills and behaviours related to listening, dealing with conflict, empathy, questioning, interviewing, and communication roadblocks. Vignettes are grouped together to provide a focus. The grouped vignettes are titled Listening, Conflict, Sensitivity, The Interview and Roadblocks.