Learning outcomes for communication skills across the health professions: A systematic literature review and qualitative synthesis

Charlotte Denniston, Elizabeth Molloy, Debra Nestel, Robyn Woodward-Kron, Jennifer L Keating

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective The aim of this study was to identify and analyse communication skills learning outcomes via a systematic review and present results in a synthesised list. Summarised results inform educators and researchers in communication skills teaching and learning across health professions. Design Systematic review and qualitative synthesis. Methods A systematic search of five databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, ERIC, CINAHL plus and Scopus), from first records until August 2016, identified published learning outcomes for communication skills in health professions education. Extracted data were analysed through an iterative process of qualitative synthesis. This process was guided by principles of person centredness and an a priori decision guide. Results 168 papers met the eligibility criteria; 1669 individual learning outcomes were extracted and refined using qualitative synthesis. A final refined set of 205 learning outcomes were constructed and are presented in 4 domains that include: (1) knowledge (eg, describe the importance of communication in healthcare), (2) content skills (eg, explore a healthcare seeker's motivation for seeking healthcare),(3) process skills (eg, respond promptly to a communication partner's questions) and (4) perceptual skills (eg, reflect on own ways of expressing emotion). Conclusions This study provides a list of 205 communication skills learning outcomes that provide a foundation for further research and educational design in communication education across the health professions. Areas for future investigation include greater patient involvement in communication skills education design and further identification of learning outcomes that target knowledge and perceptual skills. This work may also prompt educators to be cognisant of the quality and scope of the learning outcomes they design and their application as goals for learning.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere014570
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Communication Skills
  • Health Professions Education
  • Learning Outcome
  • Qualitative synthesis
  • Systematic Review

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