Weller, Peter D.; Branday, Joseph M.; Wierenga, Andrea M.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
Building Better Doctors: Improving the Personal and Professional Communication Skills of Medical Students
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
Objective: The restructured curriculum recognizes the need for personal and professional development, particularly the ability to communicate well as probably the most important attribute of a doctor. One of the key objectives of the curriculum is for students to develop the ability to communicate ' effectively with patients and their relatives and with othe health professionals involved in their care'. Methods: New elements have been added to the curriculum which emphasizes self awareness, interpersonal skills for behaviour change. Didactic components are combined with experiential activities and role plays to facilitate changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices with the goal of 'building better physicians.' Results: Lessons learned from the implementation of this programme reinforce for us that curriculum development is a dynamic and continuous proocess. Important elements are: *setting the stage and creating a 'eadiness to learn', *providing a non-threatening and supportive environment for practice of new skills, *matching the content with stage of readiness and opportunity to apply knowledge and skills, *the integration of content from other courses in the currculum *the support of stakeholders in the system. Conclusion: The implementation of this aspect of curriculum reform provides important insights into the dynamics that have shaped the development of the traditional 'medical mindset' and helps to identify important opportunities for transformation and change. There are also implications regarding modifications for other aspcts of the curriculum.....