Article Text

other Versions

PDF
Improving medical students’ written communication skills: design and evaluation of an educational curriculum
  1. L Melvin1,
  2. K Connolly1,
  3. L Pitre2,
  4. K L Dore2,
  5. P Wasi2
  1. 1Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lindsay Melvin, Department of Medicine, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, 399 Bathurst Street, 8EW-432E, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2S8; Lindsay.melvin{at}rogers.com

Abstract

Background and objectives Written and verbal communication skills are important skills for all physicians. While verbal skills are taught and assessed in medical school, medical students report limited instruction in written communication skills. This study examined the impact of a curriculum delivered during a 6-week clinical rotation in Internal Medicine on the objective assessment of medical students’ written communication skills.

Methods The curriculum consisted of two educational programmes: a medical student communication tutorial and a resident feedback workshop. The study was conducted from March 2012 to January 2013 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The study featured three arms: (1) control, (2) medical student communication tutorial alone and (3) student tutorial and resident feedback workshop. Data were collected on 126 students during 6-week Internal Medicine clerkship rotations. Students’ written consultation notes were collected prior to the educational programmes and at 6 weeks. Blinded faculty assessors used an independently validated Assessment Checklist to evaluate consultation notes.

Results Consultation note scores improved from week 1 to week 6 across all study arms. However, the change was statistically significant only in arm 3, featuring both the medical student tutorial and the resident feedback workshop, with mean scores improving from 4.75 (SD=1.496) to 5.56 (SD=0.984) out of 7. The mean difference between week 1 and week 6 was significantly different (0.806, p=0.002, 95% CI 0.306 to 1.058).

Conclusions The combination of a resident feedback workshop with medical student written communication tutorial improves objective evaluations of consultation note scores over student tutorial alone.

  • EDUCATION & TRAINING (see Medical Education & Training)
  • GENERAL MEDICINE (see Internal Medicine)
  • MEDICAL EDUCATION & TRAINING

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.