Teaching medical students what they think they already know

Judith Fadlon, Itai Pessach, Asaf Toker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: To discuss the problems encountered teaching interviewing skills to first year medical students and describe their responses to a structured workshop in interviewing skills. Methods: Focus groups and a short evaluation questionnaire filled in by 56 first year medical students before and after a workshop in interviewing skills were used. Results: All students evaluated their skills very highly prior to the workshop. After participating in the workshop, students evaluated their skills as lower than before. Discussion: When communication skills are taught in an informal, unstructured manner, medical students might view this knowledge as unspecialized, repetitive, and even boring. It is suggested that employing a structured model for teaching doctor-patient communication skills awards psycho-social issues the status of formal knowledge. This can lead to students viewing communication skills as a relevant and consistent body of knowledge. Introducing a structured model can overcome two kinds of problems: over-confident students are formally introduced to unique aspects of medical interviewing, whilst those who lack confidence are offered a lifeline in the form of a structured model. Identifying possible sources of resistance to communications training has important implications for medical education as it allows for appropriate course planning and follow up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalEducation for Health: Change in Learning and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2004


  • Doctor-patient communication
  • Doctor-patient relationship
  • Interviewing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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