Assessing The Attitude Of Medical Students Towards Learning Communication Skills
Efficient communication skills are essential for doctors to extract relevant information, counsel the patients and formulate a warm relationship with the patients. It’s essential for medical schools to incorporate communication skills learning courses in their undergraduate curricula. This study assesses the attitudes of Pakistani medical students toward learning communication skills.
A prospective, cross sectional study was designed to ascertain the attitude of students studying in Jinnah Sindh Medical University towards formal teaching of communication skills. From all five years, 480 medical students participated in the study. Written informed consent was received Communication Skills Attitude Scale (CSAS) was selected as the assessment tool. Approval from Ethics review committee was sought. Data was entered and analyzed using SPSS v. 23.
With a mean age of 20.66 years, 39.2% (n=188) were preclinical students and 60.8% (n=292) were clinical students. Female to male proportion was 60.4% vs. 39.6%. Cronbach’s alpha of PAS was above 0.7 and that of NAS was less than 0.7. Therefore, only the PAS was considered for analysis. PAS mean score of the students was significantly related to the five years of medical education. The trend of positive attitude declined as the seniority in education was achieved.
In conclusion, this study demonstrated a positive attitude toward learning communication skills among younger and fresher medical students. This study adds to the growing evidence that supports the investigation of medical students’ attitudes towards learning communication skills and its critical role in curriculum design. The study opens gates for more investigations in this domain and modifications in medical education curriculum.