Communication skills course in an Indian undergraduate dental curriculum: a randomized controlled trial.J Dent Educ. 2013 Aug; 77(8):1092-8.JD
This study assessed the impact of a course on communication skills for third-year undergraduate dental students at a dental institute in India. A randomized pretest, posttest controlled trial was conducted with all the students from four cohorts of third-year dental undergraduate students, divided into an intervention group (n=30) and a control group (n=30). The course was developed using Kern's six-step approach to curriculum development. Needs assessment was ascertained, and readings, lectures, and role-plays with real and simulated patients were implemented. Encounters of students during two patient interviews (simulated and real) were rated by two raters using a twenty-seven-item dental consultation communication checklist with a rating scale 0 to 3. Students completed a questionnaire regarding their acceptance of the course. A 2×2 (group × time) ANOVA with group as a between-subjects factor (control vs. experimental) and time as a within-subjects factor (pre vs. post) was performed. The two groups did not differ at pretest but differed significantly at posttest. This study showed that simply attending to patients during a clinical course did not improve professional communication skills. In contrast, the implementation of a course on communication skills did improve the students' dentist-patient interactions. Integrating the teaching and development of a relevant, outcome-based course on communication skills provided clear evidence of communication skills acquisition among these dental students. The course could be introduced in other Indian dental schools.