Teaching brief motivational interviewing to Year three medical students

Med Educ. 2007 Feb;41(2):160-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2006.02673.x.


Objectives: In 2005, the authors developed and tested a curriculum to teach Year 3 Yale University medical students a behaviour change counselling approach called 'brief motivational interviewing' (BMI). Brief motivational interviewing is a patient-centred approach designed to promote changes in patient behaviour within the time constraints imposed by a busy medical practice.

Methods: Standardised patients/instructors delivered the curriculum within a single 2-hour training episode using a teaching acronym called 'CHANGE' to promote the students' learning. The authors used a pretest, post-test and 4-week follow-up design to assess students' BMI skills (as measured by the Helpful Response Questionnaire), knowledge and attitudes toward the approach.

Results: Students successfully increased their use of BMI-consistent behaviours, primarily by increasing the frequency and depth of their reflections and by reducing the frequency with which they incorporated communication roadblocks and closed questions into their responses (all P-values < or = 0.05). Students also showed increases in BMI knowledge, interest in the approach, confidence in their ability to use BMI, and commitment to incorporating BMI skills into their future medical practice (all P-values < or = 0.05).

Conclusions: The findings suggest that Year 3 medical students can learn basic BMI skills and knowledge and develop positive attitudes toward the approach within a relatively short period of time. The authors discuss the study's limitations and future directions for teaching students BMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Communication
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Students, Medical*
  • Teaching / methods*