Research studies conducted by the Communication Skills Program at Dalhousie Universityís Faculty of Medicine have included:
Creating an Inventory of Communications Skills Faculty, Curricula and Instructional Materials in Canadian Medical Education (Evans J, Sargeant J, Frank J, Wallace G) Supported by the Medical Council of Canada.
This study was conducted by members of the Communication Skills Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC). The rationale was to survey medical schools to better understand how patient-doctor communication skills training is being conducted in 17 Canadian Medical Schools.
The Medical Resident: Exploring Communication Dynamics Between Residents, Attending Physicians and Nurses (Evans J, Simpson D, MacLeod H.) Supported by the Dalhousie Division of Medical Education Research and Development Fund.
This study explored communication dynamics among residents and between residents, attending physicians and nurses. The goal was explore team communication and collaboration and to identify factors that contribute to residentís communication challenges, impact work satisfaction and influence patient safety.
National Task Force on Physician Communication Skills Assessment and Enhancement (Laidlaw T; Campbell C; Klass D; Kurtz S; Lemire F; MacLeod H; Page G.) Supported by the Medical Council of Canada.
The purpose of the project was: 1) To develop evaluation strategies and instruments for assessing the communication skills of practicing physicians as part of a national strategy for physician communication skills assessment to enhance patient-doctor communication skills; and 2) To pilot instruments to assess patient-doctor interaction, determining instrument reliability and validity.
A Methodology for Identifying and Understanding Exemplary Patient-Physician Communication (Laidlaw T, Kaufman D, Blake K, Sargeant J) Supported by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
The purpose of the study was to examine the cognitive, affective and behavioural characteristics of physicians found to be exemplary communicators. By conducting a rigorous study of the best medical communicators, we generated in-depth description of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours identified as critical for exemplary communication. Our study focused on physician communication with adolescent patients.
A Randomized Clinical Trial of Communication Skills Training for Residents (Laidlaw T, Kaufman D, Wrixon W, Van Xanten S, Simpson D) Supported by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; QEII Health Sciences Centre Research Fund and the Dalhousie Division of Medical Education Research and Development Fund.
The objectives of this project were to improve first and second year residents' (PGY1/2) patient-doctor communication skills by implementing and assessing a pilot communication skill training program which included a four station OSCE and workshop. Residents' communication skills performance and demographic information was analyzed to examine how residentsí characteristics influenced their proficiency in patient-doctor communication skills. We sought to determine the impact of this communication skills training intervention and increase residents' communication skills competency to prepare them for the assessment of these skills in their residency years as mandated by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Needs Assessment of Communication SkillsTraining and Practice (Laidlaw T, Kaufman D, Sargeant J & Langille D). Supported by the Dalhousie Division of Medical Education Research and Development Fund and Glaxo Wellcome.
A comprehensive needs assessment of communication skills and training across the continuum of medical education was executed surveying students, residents and faculty at Dalhousie Medical School as well as Nova Scotia family physicians and Nova Scotia health care consumers. The purpose of the study was to assess: the current state of communication skills training at Dalhousie, attitudes toward communication skills training from the various constituent groups, the communication demands of medical practice in Nova Scotia and the public's satisfaction with their physicianís communication skills. The findings provided data for designing and implementing undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education programs in communication skills training.
Communication Skills Needs Assessment Sub-Studies
Several sub-studies were undertaken as part of our needs assessment research. They included: I) Changes in student attitudes and self efficacy during medical school; 2) development of an attitude scale to measure attitudes towards medical communication; 3) factors predicting faculty attitudes toward medical communication; 4) patient satisfaction with medical care; 5) physician perspectives on medical education, and 6) strategies to integrate communication skills across the curriculum.
Exposure, Confidence and Performance Study (Kaufman D, Laidlaw T, MacLeod H).
This study examined medical students level of clinical exposure to a range of examples of challenging patient-doctor communication and how this experience (or lack of) influenced student confidence in interacting and communicating with patients.
Communication Skills Training in an Obstetrics/Gynecology Rotation (Laidlaw T, Kaufman D, Parish B) Supported by the Dalhousie Division of Medical Education Research Fund.
This study involved the introduction of advanced communication skills training to 4th year clerks in the Obstetrics/Gynecology rotation. The impact of an enhanced training program was evaluated by student performance in a three station communication skills OCSE.
Enhancing the Teaching of a Genetics Module (Bayliss F, Downie J, Laidlaw T, Ludman M) Supported by the Dalhousie Division of Medical Education Research and Development Fund.
This interdisciplinary study involved the integration and assessment of communication skills training, bioethics and legal issues into the teaching of the genetics component in 1st year medicine.
Teaching Medical Communication: Examining the Research Evidence (Laidlaw T & Langille D) Supported by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.
This research project examined and synthesized the research literature on communication skills in medicine, producing a comprehensive literature review to inform curriculum development.