Objective: To investigate the effect of communication skills training on doctors' and nurses' self-efficacy, to explore how training courses influence the initial experience of self-efficacy and to identify determinants of health professionals' self-efficacy.
Methods: The study was conducted as a randomized trial. Clinicians in the intervention group received a 5 day communication course and the control group received no intervention. The impact of the intervention was evaluated by means of questionnaires measuring the effect of communication courses on changes in doctors' and nurses' self-efficacy.
Results: Clinicians who participated in the communication course improved their self-efficacy for specific communication tasks with up to 37%. The improvements remained constant for the following 6 months. The training course did not influence the initial experience of self-efficacy.
Conclusion: Communication skills training can improve clinicians' evaluation of his or her ability to perform a specific communication task - measured as self-efficacy.
Practice implications: Communication courses can be used to improve doctors' and nurses' ability to perform some of the essential communicative demands they are facing in daily praxis.