Peer led training in communication skills
Role play can be a valuable learning experience for student facilitators and students being trained. Saman Saidi and colleagues describe an interesting initiative
Despite recent changes to the medical curriculum there are still regular reports in the media that criticise the bedside manner and communication skills of doctors and medical students.12 These shortcomings may also be the reason for official complaints and legal action against doctors.3 So, without looking for someone to blame for this continuing trend, what can be done to improve the communication skills of tomorrow's doctors? Perhaps a student led scheme at Lewisham Hospital offers an answer.
In 2004 a young psychiatrist, Dr Sarah Stringer, inspired by her undergraduate training in communication skills at Cambridge University's Anatomy B course, decided to implement an arrangement for informal feedback to her psychiatry teaching, with the intention of improving student doctors' communication skills as well as preparing them for their upcoming objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs; box 1).
Three years and three awards for teaching excellence later, the sessions have evolved to include