Results of Survey: Determining a curriculum to develop clinical communication skills for students of health professions.

We recently undertook a survey of academics and clinical educators in the Health Science professional disciplines. We asked them which of 61 communication learning objectives or skills1 that they thought were most important for student to develop.


The three skills that were perceived to be most important related to communication with patients (n=47 respondents). The majority of respondents indicated that they thought these skills should be introduced into the curriculum before they embarked on their first clinical placement.


A1: The student adapts own communication to the level of understanding and language of the patient, avoiding jargon.

A2:The student uses techniques to build up and maintain rapport and an empathetic relationship and ensures that the patient feels attended and listened to.

A3:The student relates to the patient respectfully including ensuring confidentiality, privacy and autonomy and recognizes the patient as a partner in shaping a relationship


This survey informs the development of preclinical learning resources to develop clinical communication skills in students of health professions.



Survey undertaken by at the University of South Australia

Associate Professor Kerry Thoirs, Associate Head of School: Academic, School of Health Sciences, Lecturer Medical Sonography School of Health Sciences, Division of Health Sciences
Dr Rowena Harper, (Head: Language and Literacy, Teaching Innovation Unit) Learning and Teaching Services, Learning and Teaching Unit
Dr Giordana Cross, Program Director, Dietetics. School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Division of Health Sciences
Dr Sandra Ullrich, Lecturer Nursing. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Division of Health Sciences
Jane Coffee, Lecturer Physiotherapy. School of Health Sciences, Division of Health Sciences