Education for Health

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28--29

Introducing a communication skills course in an indian dental institution: An academic experience


Sivaranjani Gali1, KM Shwetha2, K Pushpanjali2, Medha Joshi3,  
1 Department of Prosthodontics, Faculty of Dental Sciences, M S Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Faculty of Dental Sciences, M S Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Head, Department of Medical Education and Pharmacology, International Medical School, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Sivaranjani Gali
Department of Prosthodontics, Faculty of Dental Sciences, M S Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India




How to cite this article:
Gali S, Shwetha K M, Pushpanjali K, Joshi M. Introducing a communication skills course in an indian dental institution: An academic experience.Educ Health 2020;33:28-29


How to cite this URL:
Gali S, Shwetha K M, Pushpanjali K, Joshi M. Introducing a communication skills course in an indian dental institution: An academic experience. Educ Health [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 21 ];33:28-29
Available from: https://www.educationforhealth.net/text.asp?2020/33/1/28/293329


Full Text



Dear Editor,

Graduates in India start their professional careers in dentistry at an early age and often are unaware of the art of communicating with patients. The nuances of communication skills, such as empathy and effective listening, must be instilled in dental graduates at the initial phase of their career. Dental schools in India barely deal with communication skills in their curriculum. Students and faculty are unaware of communication errors that could happen during patient interaction, leading to deleterious effects such as loss of trust in the doctor, misdiagnosis, and patient misconceptions about the health profession.[1],[2],[3]

We want to share our experiences in introducing a communication skills module to 48 preclinical undergraduates. With the lesson plan shown in [Table 1], role-play was used as a teaching strategy to address attitudinal change in students and designed to depict a 'Bad Doctor–Patient Interaction' in terms of body language, patient neglect, and miscommunication.[4] Six clinical interns were instructed to enact a bad doctor neglecting the patient with inappropriate attire, body language, no-eye contact with lack of empathy. Skills of communication were deconstructed into building rapport, listening effectively, gathering information, and session closure. Role-play was used as a platform for students to discuss: “What went wrong,” “What should have been done” and “What is expected from a doctor”. Students were instructed to observe role-play and discuss what could have done better. Faculty facilitated discussions through leading questions.{Table 1}

Program evaluation using Kirkpatrick's hierarchy was conducted, the first level with 89.5% of students finding the module very helpful and the second level resulting in a statistically significant difference in the mean pre and post test scores ranging from 0.1 to 0.4 (P < 0.01). Students expressed, “We really loved the group discussion with case scenario.” “We want this type of workshop after certain time interval as it is very helpful,” and “Interaction sessions such as role play and skit were helpful.”

The module was beneficial in instilling an awareness of communication, with students favoring interactive teaching-learning methods, such as role-play and group discussions. We recommend valid, reliable instruments to assess how students have internalized learning, applied in clinics, and implemented in other dental schools across India.[5]

Acknowledgment

We thank Dean B. V. Sreenivasamurthy and Dr. Sylvia Mathew for their support.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1Soh G. Effects of explanation of treatment procedures on dental fear. Clin Prev Dent 1992;14:10-3.
2Evans BJ, Stanley RO, Mestrovic R, Rose L. Effects of communication skills training on students' diagnostic efficiency. Med Educ 1991;25:517-26.
3Biro PA, Hewson ND. A survey of patients' attitudes to their dentist. Aust Dent J 1976;21:388-94.
4Jackson VA, Back AL. Teaching communication skills using role-play: An experience-based guide for educators. J Palliat Med 2011;14:775-80. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2010.0493. [PMID: 21651366].
5Sangappa SB, Tekian A. Communication skills course in an Indian undergraduate dental curriculum: A randomized controlled trial. J Dent Educ 2013;77:1092-8.