Communication skills training increases self-efficacy of health care professionals

Authors

  • Birgitte Nørgaard MSc, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Assistant, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kolding Hospital, and Health Services Research Unit, Lillebaelt Hospital
    • Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kolding Hospital, Skovvangen 2–8, 6000 Kolding, Denmark
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  • Jette Ammentorp MSc, PhD,

    1. Assistant Professor, Research Manager, Health Services Research Unit, Lillebaelt Hospital, and Institute of Regional Health Services Research, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Kirsten Ohm Kyvik MD, PhD, MPM,

    1. Professor, Head of Institute, Institute of Regional Health Services Research, University of Southern Denmark, and Odense Patient Data Explorative Network (OPEN), Odense University Hospital
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  • Poul-Erik Kofoed MD, Dr Med

    1. Assistant Professor, Research Manager, Health Services Research Unit, Lillebaelt Hospital, and Institute of Regional Health Services Research, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Disclosures: The authors report none.

Abstract

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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