Communication Skills Curriculum for Foreign Medical Graduates in an Internal Medicine Residency Program

Ravishankar Ramaswamy, Alicia Williams, Elizabeth M. Clark, Amy S. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Effective communication is an important aspect of caring for the elderly, who are more likely to have multimorbidity, limited health literacy, and psychosocial barriers to care. About half of Internal Medicine (IM) trainees in the United States are foreign medical graduates, and may not have been exposed to prior communication skills education. This novel communication skills curriculum for IM interns aimed to increase trainees' confidence and use of specific communication tools with older adults, particularly in delivering bad news and conducting family meetings. The workshop consisted of two interactive sessions in a small group with two learners and one or two facilitators, during the 4-week geriatrics block in IM internship training year. Twenty-three IM interns at an urban Veterans Affairs Medical Center were surveyed at the beginning and at the end of the 4-week block and 3 months after completion of the workshop about their knowledge, confidence, and skill in communication and asked about challenges to effective communication with older adults. The primary outcome measure was change in self-reported confidence and behavior in communication at 4 weeks. On a 4-point Likert scale, there was average improvement of 0.70 in self-reported confidence in communication, which was sustained 3 months after completion of the workshop. Participants reported several patient, physician, and system barriers to effective communication. Communication skills education in a small-group setting and the opportunity for repeated practice and self-reflection resulted in a sustained increase in overall confidence in IM interns in communication with older adults and may help overcome certain patient- and physician-specific communication barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2153-2158
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume62
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014

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Keywords

  • communication skills
  • foreign medical graduates
  • internal medicine residency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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