Which basic communication skills in medicine are learnt spontaneously and which need to be taught and trained?

Med Teach. 2005 Sep;27(6):539-43. doi: 10.1080/01421590500136501.


Students in the last semester of medical school and experienced junior doctors with no or little training in communication skills were observed while interviewing or informing simulated patients. There was a remarkable similarity in behaviour between the two categories. Communication skills characteristic of common social conversation were learnt spontaneously, while important professional basic communication skills were not learnt despite 10 or more years of clinical work. These discrepancies and subsequent gaps should be the focus of future training courses at both pre- and postgraduate level.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Denmark
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Patient Simulation
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians
  • Students, Medical*
  • Videotape Recording