Complex conversations in a healthcare setting: experiences from an interprofessional workshop on clinician-patient communication skills

Edward Stephens, Leeroy William, Lyn Li Lim, Judy Allen, Bernadette Zappa, Evan Newnham, Kitty Vivekananda

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Communication is pivotal to the effective care and treatment of patients in our health care systems. Despite this understanding, clinicians are not sufficiently educated to confidently conduct complex discussions with patients. Communication skills workshops have been shown to be an effective educational format to improve clinician skills. However, despite the increasing interprofessional focus within modern medicine, there have been few studies looking at interprofessional communication workshops. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted to assess how an interprofessional communication skills workshop affected the communication skills of clinicians at a tertiary health service. Pre- and post-workshop surveys were undertaken by participants, followed by focus group interviews eight-weeks post workshop. Results: Clinicians were able to incorporate learnt communication skills into their daily practice. This was associated with an improvement in confidence of clinicians in having complex discussions, in addition to a reduction in the burden of having complex discussions. Participants responded positively to the interdisciplinary format, reporting benefits from the learning experience that translated into daily practice. Conclusion: Clinicians’ communication skills in conducting complex clinician-patient conversations can be improved by participation in interprofessional communication skills workshops. We identified that the interprofessional aspect of the workshops not only improved interprofessional understanding and relationships, but also developed increased self-awareness during complex discussions, and reduced the sense of burden felt by clinicians.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number343
    Number of pages8
    JournalBMC Medical Education
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Communication
    • Interdisciplinary
    • Interprofessional
    • Learning
    • Skills

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