Focus groups findings reveal barriers to teaching communication skills to medical students

Bassem K. Saab, Stella Major, Umaya M. Musharrafieh, Jumana Antoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND : In December 2002, 74 medical students in the second preclinical years at the American University of Beirut (AUB) attended a workshop on basic communication skills (CS). The students watched video clips which demonstrated different communication skills and stages of the consultation, and role-played to try out ways they could improve the consultation. Their familiarity with the skills taught was assessed at the beginning of the workshop, immediately afterwards, and again six months later. There was a significant improvement noted immediately after the intervention but this apparent gain was lost at six months. METHOD : Sixteen students, who attended the workshop, also attended two focus group discussions which were aimed to assess student recall of the communications skills workshop, and explore ways in which the students thought the knowledge gained could be maintained. RESULTS : In general students thought that lack of exposure to patients at the time when the CS course was held, and a lack of consistency in CS coupled with poor faculty CS role modeling hindered their ability to maintain and practice good CS. CONCLUSIONS : Teaching CS may be more effective if medical students are taught these skills when they are exposed to patients on a regular basis, and the training is maintained throughout the clinical years. However, more emphasis should be on reminding faculty members of their role as teachers and good communicating role models to students through workshops and seminars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-252
Number of pages5
JournalJournal Medical Libanais
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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