Main Article Content
Background and objective: Communication skills are considered to be imperative for any medical professional. Many studies have shown that the doctor-patient relationship is the most important factor of high quality medical care and patient satisfaction. Medical Education Center of Khon Kaen Hospital has been teaching communication skills to medical students since 2008, but their attitudes and practices of communication skills have never been assessed. The researchers are interested in this evaluation of attitudes and performances regarding communication skills among sixth year medical students at Khon Kaen Hospital. This study aims to assess students’ current attitudes and performances in communication skills at Khon Kaen Hospital and to determine the correlation between level of attitude and level of performance in communication skills among sixth year medical students at Medical Education Center of Khon Kaen Hospital.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study using a self-administered questionnaire was conducted to assess attitudes toward communication skills among 49 medical students. Additionally, 5 stations of ethical Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) were also tested to assess their performances related to communication skills. Data were presented in percentages and mean values, and were categorized into good, moderate, and poor. The correlation between level of attitude and level of performance was examined using Fisher’s exact test.
Results: The questionnaire return rate and the rate of passing Ethical OSCE were 100% (n= 49). Approximately two-third of medical students had good attitude (69.4%), particularly the questions about necessary of communication skills that medical students should be learning as well as applying this important skills in their future careers. Only one-third (28.6%) had good performances in communication skills. Of note, they had limited performances in three aspects including listening and asking questions, making therapeutic relationships, and summarizing and closing communication. However, a statistically significant correlation was found between the mean attitude scores and performance scores (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: It was found that the students’ attitudes towards communication skills were good. The attitude and performance scores were correlated. Their performances in listening and asking question, making therapeutic relationship, and summarizing and closing communication should be improved.