Have medical students’ attitudes towards clinical communication skills changed over a 12- year period? A comparative long-term study
AuthorGude, Tore; Tyssen, Reidar; Anvik, Tor; Grimstad, Hilde; Holen, Are; Baerheim, Anders; Vaglum, Per Jørgen Wiggen; Løvseth, Lise T
Methods - The samples comprised final-year medical students. Two separate cross-sectional surveys performed 12 years apart (2003 and 2015) used items from the Communication Skills Attitude Scale in addition to age and gender. The traditional curriculum included only theoretical teaching and no contact with patients was made during the first 2 to 2.5 years of medical school. However, the integrated curriculum combined training in theoretical and clinical communication skills with early patient contact from the beginning.
Results - Attitudes improved from the first to the second survey at both schools, however, students from the integrated school reported more positive attitudes than those from the traditional school. Female students from the integrated school contributed the most to the difference in attitudes in both surveys.
Conclusions - Students in both traditional and integrated curricula improved their attitudes from the first to the second assessment. However, compared with the traditional curriculum, the integrated one fostered even higher levels of positive attitudes towards acquiring communication skills, and a pronounced influence was observed on female students. These findings suggest that an educational program with greater emphasis on improving attitudes among male students may be required.