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1170237_Stephens, E_2021.pdf (317.56 kB)

Complex conversations in a healthcare setting: experiences from an interprofessional workshop on clinician-patient communication skills

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-07-06, 03:57 authored by E Stephens, Leeroy WilliamLeeroy William, LL Lim, J Allen, B Zappa, E Newnham, K Vivekananda
Background: Communication is pivotal to the effective care and treatment of patients in our health care systems. Despite this understanding, clinicians are not sufficiently educated to confidently conduct complex discussions with patients. Communication skills workshops have been shown to be an effective educational format to improve clinician skills. However, despite the increasing interprofessional focus within modern medicine, there have been few studies looking at interprofessional communication workshops. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted to assess how an interprofessional communication skills workshop affected the communication skills of clinicians at a tertiary health service. Pre- and post-workshop surveys were undertaken by participants, followed by focus group interviews eight-weeks post workshop. Results: Clinicians were able to incorporate learnt communication skills into their daily practice. This was associated with an improvement in confidence of clinicians in having complex discussions, in addition to a reduction in the burden of having complex discussions. Participants responded positively to the interdisciplinary format, reporting benefits from the learning experience that translated into daily practice. Conclusion: Clinicians’ communication skills in conducting complex clinician-patient conversations can be improved by participation in interprofessional communication skills workshops. We identified that the interprofessional aspect of the workshops not only improved interprofessional understanding and relationships, but also developed increased self-awareness during complex discussions, and reduced the sense of burden felt by clinicians.


Funding for the project was obtained through the Acute and General Medical Specific Purpose Budget at the health service. The funder had no role in study design, intervention, analysis of data or development of the manuscript.


Publication Date



BMC Medical Education





Article Number

ARTN 343







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