Communication with patients or other professionals are so-called soft-factors but they are crucial for therapists. Patients' perceptions of communication, perceptions of partnership and a positive doctor approach explained 78% of variance related to “patient satisfaction” (Little et al., 2001). The main goal of communication training is enabling therapist to build effective therapeutic relationships. Competent conversation includes a comprehensive use of knowledge and skills, these skills must be trained in specific training and need reflection, in communicative tasks we are dependent on personal feedback, which patients often do not (or cannot) give. For years, in our institution communication training is established according to Standards of Best Practice (Lewis et al., 2017). Professional actors are supplemental trained in moderating the feedback session and in case-relevant medical knowledge. This study evaluates the added value in the apperception of former students. We examined the costs of communication training and discussed these regarding self-reported benefits of the learning method.
After their Bachelor degree students reported their perception on the value of the communication training in a digital survey. The evaluation included 26 items, two of them were open-ended questions. For the quantitative data, a factor analysis was calculated and finally analysed descriptively. These Factors are (a) negotiation, (b) alternatives to action, (c) transfer to practice, (d) reflecting capacity, (e) sense of self, (f) feedback. With the qualitative data, a content analysis according to Mayring (2015) was carried out. Evaluation of pricing per student of that training is based on the amount of lessons and hourly rate for feedback-moderating professional actor.
243 students responded (90.6% women), the response rate was 30%. Of the participants, 62% were already practicing, i.e. had at least one year of work experience as trainees. Almost one third were former nursing students, midwifery was involved with 15.6%. The study programs Nutrition and Dietetics as well as Physiotherapy made up about a quarter of the participants. The quantitative results show a rating between 2.8 and 3.3 out of 4 points. The qualitative results reflected not exclusively but predominantly positive experiences. In BSc Physiotherapy students get six trainings, where they act in two cases as professional respectively as observer. SP and administration are calculated with about SFR 180,- per training, makes SFR 1080,- per student.
Discussion & Conclusions:
The effectiveness of this form of teaching cannot be verified with this study design. Former students confirm an added value of communication training with a view from everyday practice. Paying about 1000 Swiss Francs for every student to a program, that students associate with good intensive learning moments should not be questioned. In further studies one could compare experiences from former students with and without the experience of communication training. To test the effectiveness of the program further studies should consider a randomised procedure but have to control diverse co-variates.
Lewis, K. L., Bohnert, C. A., Gammon, W. L., Hölzer, H., Lyman, L., Smith, C., Thompson, T. M., Wallace, A., & Gliva-McConvey, G. (2017). The association of standardized patient educators (ASPE) standards of best practice (SOBP). Advances in Simulation, 2(1), 1–8.
Little, P., Everitt, H., Williamson, I., Warner, G., Moore, M., Gould, C., Ferrier, K., & Payne, S. (2001). Observational study of effect of patient centredness and positive approach on outcomes of general practice consultations. Bmj, 323(7318), 908–911.
Mayring, P. (2015). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Beltz Verlagsgruppe.