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A quantitative survey of intern's knowledge of communication skills: an Iranian exploration

Author(s): Tavakol Mohsen | Torabi Sima | Lyne Owen | Zeinaloo Ali

Journal: BMC Medical Education
ISSN 1472-6920

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 6;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Abstract Background It is a high priority that health care providers have effective communication skills. It has been well documented that the doctor-patient relationship is central to the delivery of high quality medical care, and it has been shown to affect patient satisfaction, to decrease the use of pain killers, to shorten hospital stays, to improve recovery from surgery and a variety of other biological, psychological and social outcomes. This study sought to quantify the current knowledge of interns in Iran about communication skills. Methods A cross-sectional study using a self-report questionnaire was conducted among interns. Data analysis was based on 223 questionnaires. The internal consistency of the items was 0.8979. Results Overall, knowledge levels were unsatisfactory. Results indicated that interns had a limited knowledge of communication skills, including identification of communication skills. In addition, there was a significant difference between the mean scores of interns on breaking bad news and sex education. The confidence of males about their communication skills was significantly higher than for females. Analysis of the total scores by age and sex showed that there was a statistically significant main effect for sex and the interaction with age was statistically significant. Free response comments of the interns are also discussed. Conclusions It is argued that there is a real need for integrating a communication skills course, which is linked to the various different ethnic and religious backgrounds of interns, into Iranian medical curricula. Some recommendations are made and the limitations of the study are discussed.
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