Undergraduate Clinical Communication Teaching

Developing effective communication is an essential core skill for undergraduate medical students, and is encouraged from the outset of medical training.

In their recommendations for the education of Tomorrow's Doctors1 the GMC emphasises the importance of graduates being able to "communicate clearly, sensitively and effectively with patients and their relatives, and colleagues from a variety of health and social care professions"

The clinical communication teaching team (known as the Interactive Studies Unit, or ISU) has, since 1991, delivered communication teaching to undergraduates in Year 1, Year 2 and Year 5 of their MBChB programmes. The success of the interactive methodology used (with both staff and students) has led to increasing amounts of collaborative teaching on the MBChB. Teaching recently implemented has led to significant increases in student contact time, with newly developed programmes for Year 3 and Graduate Entry Course (GEC) students.

The team is led by Professor John Skelton, and includes a Clinical Lecturer Dr Isabelle Mantella, a Senior Lecturer, Dr Connie Wiskin, and a team of Teaching Fellows. We also work very closely with a wide range of departmental colleagues. A wider team of approximately 80 sessional role-playing staff supply teaching support on role-playing sessions both here in the department and for the ISU on associated undergraduate programmes and Dentistry (BDS). More information below.

The team also engage in other undergraduate activities. Several Special Study Modules (SSMs) are offered - Drama and Medicine, Advanced Consulting, Health of Refugees & Asylum Seekers, Creative Writing,Teacher Training, and Assessing Consultations

For further details click on any of the links above, or contact our Co-ordinator Karen Barry.

1 General Medical Council. Tomorrow's Doctors: Recommendations on Undergraduate Medical Education. 2002. General Medical Council

Clinical Communication Teaching Programme for Undergraduate Dental Students...

Students at Birmingham Dental Hospital receive clinical communication training in years 1, 2 and 3. Training takes place in small groups in a simulated surgery, with members of the ISU team taking patient and facilitator roles.

First year scenarios include fears, phobias and inappropriate requests. Second year scenarios focus on patients with physical and mental heath disabilities. Third year scenarios concentrate on breaking bad news, abuse and complaint handling.

Role players also feature annually in the year 2 dental OSCE.

For further information relating to the teaching of this course please contact Connie Wiskin