Communication Skills Training Increases Self-Efficacy of Health Care Professionals

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Introduction:Despite the knowledge of good communication as a precondition for optimal care and treatment in health care, serious communication problems are still experienced by patients as well as by health care professionals. An orthopedic surgery department initiated a 3-day communication skills training course for all staff members expecting an increase in patient-centeredness in communication and more respectful intercollegial communication. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of this training course on participants' self-efficacy with a focus on communication with both colleagues and patients.Methods:The study was designed as an effectiveness study with the training course implemented in a real-world context. The staff members attended a 3-day training course in patient-centered communication and communication with colleagues. The effect of the training was evaluated by means of a questionnaire filled out before, immediately after, and 6 months after the course.Results:Of the 181 participants, 177 answered the questionnaire before, 165 immediately after, and 150 six months after the course. The mean score for self-efficacy in communication with patients increased from 6.68 to 7.88 (p < .001) and in communication with colleagues from 6.85 to 7.84 (p < .001) immediately following the training course. The effect was still present 6 months after the course was completed.Discussion:Although the study was conducted in a real-world setting with many competing demands, a communication course produced an increase in self-efficacy. This result was observed for doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and medical secretaries.

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