What to do about medical students with unsatisfactory consultation skills?

Med Teach. 2006 Aug;28(5):443-6. doi: 10.1080/01421590600627516.


If it is accepted that new doctors must be 'Fit to Practice' in a standard clinical house job, they should be competent in basic communication skills. Although these skills may be assessed as part of a routine OSCE-style exam in the course of the curriculum, the question is raised whether students who fail to demonstrate a minimal level of competence in this area should to be allowed to progress to the next stage of the course and eventually graduate. This paper describes our experiences with introducing 'barrier' stations in communication skills into the OSCE. Students who failed these stations, irrespective of their overall exam performance, undertook remedial studies in a compulsory two-week directed study module followed by a four-station OSCE.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Communication*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Education, Professional, Retraining*
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Humans
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Students, Medical*