COMMUNICATION SKILLS FORMATION OF MEDICAL STUDENTS
The competence of the physician is determined not only by scientific and clinical knowledge, but also by excellent communication skills to ensure optimal doctor – patient interactions. Patients should be partners in the process of choosing diagnosis and treatment methods, which encourages them to be responsible for their own health and helps to improve the effectiveness of medical care. It is the responsibility of the physician to facilitate the process "joint decision – making", which promotes this partnership, using good communication skills.
The article considers the general advice for the organization of communication of medical students in different situations and with different categories of patients, as well as mechanisms for their integration into the existing curriculum.
One of the important parts of developing communication skills at the beginning of medical career is observing others. The student should take every opportunity to observe the interaction of doctor and patient, it is important to be present during serious conversations. The student needs to consider whether the behavior he sees should be imitated or avoided, thinking about how he can adjust his future behavior in such a situation. The student needs to choose the things he likes and use them as his own – creating his own structure of communication techniques.
Effective communication goes a long way in building a relationship of trust between physician and patients. Patients expect doctors to support them, be compassionate, open, and honest about the details of their illness, treatment choices, side effects of medications, and the expected relief of symptoms. Non-verbal aspects of communication such as body language, eye contact, facial expression, touch, gestures and interpersonal distance have extraordinary importance in building relationships between doctor and patient.
Studing the communication skills of medical students is an important component of the educational process, so it is recommended to incorporate them in higher medical school programs from the very beginning. One challenge with formal communication skills in higher medical schools is the gap that students observe between the communication patterns taught in training situations and the actual behavior of physicians in clinical practice. This can be a major barrier to overcome. A possible strategy to remove this barrier could be an integration of clinical and communication skills teaching in clinical situations. An important condition for teaching and assessing the communication skills of future physicians is the modeling of real professional communication conditions in order to involve each student in practical communication activities. However, the best demonstration of professional communication skills takes place in real clinical situations – "near the patient's bedside", where students learn to communicate effectively and master communication skills using their own experience.The ultimate goal is not only to teach students the particularities of communication, but also to use them throughout the practical activities.
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