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Teaching communication at the Medical School in Ljubljana

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Author(s): Marija Petek Šter

Journal: Acta Medica Academica
ISSN 1840-1848

Volume: 41;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 38;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Curriculum changes | Early clinical exposure | Communication | Experience | Dilemmas

ABSTRACT
Early clinical exposure helps medical students to develop appropriateattitudes towards their learning and future medical practice andgive them an opportunity for improving communication skills. Newcurriculum at the Medical faculty of Ljubljana introduced early clinical exposure (ECE) for the first year medical students through the subject “Communication”. We present the aims and the content of the curriculum “Communication” and present our experience, students’feedback, dilemmas and ideas for the future development of the curriculum. Decision for the introduction of this subject is based on the result of survey about the key competences of doctors, review of the literature and empirical recognition of the fact that previous programme lacked the necessary knowledge and experience for good interpersonal communication. The main goals of our teaching are in improving communication skills and understanding and assuming thatgood doctor-patients relationship is crucial for the successful treatment. The curriculum consists of theoretical part (lectures from medical psychology) and practical part (communication in a small groupusing prepared vignettes, interview with nursing home residents andobservation of general practitioners’ work during their 1-day practiceattachment). Students evaluated the curriculum as very valuable at thebeginning of their learning. The practical part of the programme, inwhich they had contact with patients and experienced the role of aphysician, better, was highly appreciated. ECE help medical studentsimprove their communication skills, they interact with more confidencein interaction with patients and develop appropriate personalattitudes for their future professional carrier.
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