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A workshop on enhancing traditional healthcare communications training with behavioural skills

Dr Paul Murphy, Mrs Patricia Holden, Ms Aoife Rafferty

A workshop on enhancing traditional healthcare communications training with behavioural skills

Introduction & aims
Effective communication is essential to the clinical practice of a healthcare professionals, and sub-optimal communication can adversely effect patient care and lead to complaints. When correlated with the move towards patient-centred care this requires healthcare professionals to engage more deeply with patients to ensure they achieve safe and successful clinical objectives [1]. This workshop aims to address shortcomings in extant communications training [2], where the role of the healthcare professional is central, and suggest a more thorough method connecting the patient's role and lived experience. Techniques from the dramatic arts will be incorporated to enhance traditional communications methods. Participants will enhance their communications skills with “behavioural” skills [3] in order to achieve better empathetic interaction.

Learning objectives
The workshop will offer participants the necessary skills to improve their performance both as a healthcare professional (HCP) and as a patient. The immersive simulation will allow participants to more deeply understand the patient's perspective, as well as their own emotional responses to challenging conversations.

Session description (planned activities)

  • Introduction: 10 mins
  • Simulation scenario familiarisation: 10 mins
  • Simulation exercise: 30 mins
  • De-roling exercise: 10 mins
  • Debrief and discussion leading to close: 20 mins

Educational methods
Participants will engage in a type of simulation concentrating on behavioural skills built on a hybrid paradigm of practices from the disciplines of simulation-based healthcare education, actor training and the sociology of emotion.

Expected impact
Participants will understand how to enhance the manner in which they make impressions on others through verbal and gestural behaviours, and how to deal with the impressions they receive from others.

Target audience
Healthcare students and professionals

All levels

Maximum number of participants 

Equipment required and specific room set-up
The workshop will require a room with sufficient space for 12 participants and the 3 convenors to move around freely and engage in interactive, person-centred training. At least 15 chairs will be required. Technical equipment to facilitate the projection of PowerPoint slides will be required.