Improving students' confidence levels in communicating with patients and introducing students to the importance of history taking
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences / Child Health Promotion Research Centre
Background Radiographers can have a marked impact on the way patients deal with their illness because they are often one of the first health professionals that patients see. Therefore, it is essential that radiographers have effective communication skills and are able to provide patients with the information they require. The purpose of this study was to test whether the introduction of additional education on communication and historytaking improved students’ communication skills. Methods A short program on communication skills and historytaking was introduced to third year undergraduate students prior to a clinical placements period. Three workshops were run; the third included a role play exercise using professional actors as simulated patients. Students completed questionnaires at baseline, following the three workshops and after their subsequent clinical placement. Descriptive statistics were calculated and logistic regression Generalized Estimating Equations models were fitted to test for differences over time in students’ confidencelevels. Results Twenty-seven out of 36 students completed the baseline and final surveys. Students indicated they were highly satisfied with the workshops provided. Statistically significant differences were observed for seven items relating to student’s confidencelevels in communicating with patients after they had participated in the workshops and their subsequent clinical placement. Conclusion The use of communication skills workshops involving actor/patients is an effective method of assisting students to develop their communication and historytaking skills. This program has now been implemented into the mentioned undergraduate course and it is recommended that radiography students at other institutions be provided with the opportunity to develop their communication and historytaking skills.