How can we support students to develop clinical communication skills?

Clinical communication is universally recognised as a core skill in the health and nursing professions. While we concentrate a lot on the development of academic communication where the focus is on writing and presentation of ideas, students are often left to manage the development of their own clinical communication development in their clinical/field placements. Yet, clinical communication is very important and probably deserves more attention before we sent our students in to real life settings.

Some good reasons why we should be looking closely at how we develop know effective clinical communication skills in our students:

  • It is important for safety and quality in health services;
  • poor communication is a leading factor in accidental harm to patients;1
  • communication is a common issue raised in patient complaints;2
  • communication is recognised as an important mechanism in teamwork;3.
  • Clinical placement providers are more willing to provide clinical placements for students if they have developed skills in communication;4
  • it improves student confidence

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