1. Communication skills training in orthopaedics

K. Lundine, J. Lockyer, C. Hutchison, R. Buckley


Communication skills have been identified as a key component of medical education by the CanMEDS Project. The objectives of this study were to identify the perceived key components of communication skills from the perspectives of both orthopaedic residents and their program directors, and to understand how these skills are currently taught.
This study utilized a mixed methods design. Quantitative data was collected using a 30-item questionnaire, which was distributed to all Canadian orthopaedic residents. Qualitative data was collected through focus groups with orthopaedic residents and semi-structured interviews with orthopaedic program directors.
One hundred and nineteen out of three hundred and twenty-five questionnaires were completed (response rate = 37%), twelve residents participated in two focus groups, and 9/16 program directors from across the country were interviewed. The questionnaire reliability had an internal consistency of Cronbach’s alpha = 0.72. An ANOVA of the questionnaire data showed gender and International vs. Canadian medical graduate status to be independent variables to several item responses (P < 0.01). The factor analysis produced a five-factor model accounting for 50% of the variance.
Both program directors and residents identified communication skills as being the accurate and appropriate use of language (ie, content skills), not how the communication was presented (ie, process skills). Perceived barriers to communication included time constraints and the need to adapt to the many personalities and types of people encountered daily in the hospital. Residents lack explicit communication skill training, but value developing communication skills in the clinical environment through experiential learning and role modeling. Resident education should focus on developing residents’ process skills in communication. Care should be taken to avoid large-group didactic teaching sessions, which are perceived as ineffective.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v30i4.2761


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