Excellent consultation and communication skills (CCS) are essential qualities of all medical practitioners and in Dundee we aim to produce graduates who can communicate effectively with patients, relatives, colleagues and other members of the wider community.
ccs 1.jpg Throughout the course and within assessment there is an emphasis on integrating clear communication with other aspects of medicine without losing sight of the patient at the centre of care. In order that a doctor can provide the best for their patients within a consultation they must know what they are talking about, they must know how to communicate most effectively and they must be able to think about multiple aspects of influence and how they interact with one another; such aspects include diagnostics, management, context, a patient’s circumstances and wishes, recommendations and guidelines, the law, and any stresses the doctor has on themselves. All these aspects impact on communication.
From the first semester of first year students practice consulting with real and simulated patients. Regular small group sessions reinforce this within each system block throughout years one and two.
In third year students we work on interactions with colleagues and special circumstances within the consultation – the upset and angry patient, breaking bad news, health behaviour change, a three way consultation and dealing with mental illness.
The final two years of study have a much greater emphasis on clinical attachments and working within a wide range of clinical settings. Students’ communication forms an essential part of teaching and assessment within each clinical block that they do. This practical, ‘on the ward’ approach is supplemented by revision and simulation sessions specifically thinking about the complexities of good communication.