Evaluation of clinical communication skills in medical students with simulated patients

Emili Gené, Llum Olmedo, Marta Pascual, Rafael Azagra, Marta Elorduy, Montserrat Virumbrales

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2 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018, Sociedad Medica de Santiago. All Rights reserved. Background: Communication skills are not learnt innately. It is therefore necessary to both train and evaluate medical students in this area. Aim: To evaluate communication skills of fourth-year medical students with the use of a simulated patient (SP). Material and Methods: Four clinical scenarios (CS) for clinical interviews with simulated patients were designed: chronic and acute diseases, difficult and functional patients. Each student performed the four CS, and his communication skills were evaluated using our own questionnaire as agreed with the SP. The questionnaire included items on verbal and nonverbal communication, warmth, respect, specificity, assertiveness and empathy (rated from 0 to 10). The response variable was the arithmetic mean of the scores on each item. All students received a detailed evaluation report. Results: Sixty one students (32 men) performing 244 interviews, were evaluated. The overall mean score was 7.87 (4.62 to 9.03). The highest scores were for respect and specificity (7.57 and 7.15 respectively). The lowest were for empathy and nonverbal communication (6.44 and 6.84 respectively). The CS evaluations were 7.87 (chronic disease), 7.02 (difficult patient), 6.46 (acute disease) and 6.14 (functional pathology). Women had higher overall scores compared to men (7.26 and 6.51 respectively; p < 0.01) and a significantly higher score in all communication variables (p < 0.01). Conclusions: The overall assessment in clinical communication with SP is satisfactory although there is room for improvement, especially in empathy and nonverbal communication. Women had significantly higher scores than men.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-167
JournalRevista Medica de Chile
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Clinical Competence
  • Health Communication
  • Patient Simulation


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