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The relationship between medical students' attitudes towards communication skills learning and their demographic and education-related characteristics

Authors


Charlotte Rees, Peninsula Medical School, ITTC Building, Tamar Science Park, Davy Road, Plymouth PL6 8BX, UK.
Tel.: 00 44 1752 238009;
Fax: 00 44 1752 238001;
E-mail: charlotte.rees@pms.ac.uk

Abstract

Introduction  The General Medical Council (GMC) has stressed the importance of medical students' attitudes towards learning. However, few studies have explored medical students' attitudes towards communication skills learning. This study explores the relationship between the attitudes of medical students at two different schools and their demographic and education-related characteristics.

Methods  A total of 490 medical students from the Universities of Nottingham (Years 1 and 2) and Leicester (Year 1) completed the 26-item Communication Skills Attitude Scale (CSAS) and a personal details questionnaire satisfactorily. The relationships between students' attitudes and their demographic and education-related characteristics were analysed separately for Nottingham and Leicester students using both univariate and multivariate statistics.

Results  The attitudes of Nottingham and Leicester medical students towards communication skills learning were significantly associated with a number of demographic and education-related characteristics. Both Nottingham and Leicester students with more positive attitudes towards communication skills learning tended to be female, tended to think their communication skills needed improving and tended not to have parents who were doctors. Both Nottingham and Leicester students with more negative attitudes towards communication skills learning tended to think their communication skills did not need improving.

Discussion  The results indicate that medical students' attitudes towards communication skills learning are associated with their demographic and education-related characteristics. These findings have a number of implications for educational practice and further research and these are discussed in this paper.

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