Using television shows to teach communication skills in internal medicine residency

BMC Med Educ. 2009 Feb 3;9:9. doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-9-9.


Background: To address evidence-based effective communication skills in the formal academic half day curriculum of our core internal medicine residency program, we designed and delivered an interactive session using excerpts taken from medically-themed television shows.

Methods: We selected two excerpts from the television show House, and one from Gray's Anatomy and featured them in conjunction with a brief didactic presentation of the Kalamazoo consensus statement on doctor-patient communication. To assess the efficacy of this approach a set of standardized questions were given to our residents once at the beginning and once at the completion of the session.

Results: Our residents indicated that their understanding of an evidence-based model of effective communication such as the Kalamazoo model, and their comfort levels in applying such model in clinical practice increased significantly. Furthermore, residents' understanding levels of the seven essential competencies listed in the Kalamazoo model also improved significantly. Finally, the residents reported that their comfort levels in three challenging clinical scenarios presented to them improved significantly.

Conclusion: We used popular television shows to teach residents in our core internal medicine residency program about effective communication skills with a focus on the Kalamazoo's model. The results of the subjective assessment of this approach indicated that it was successful in accomplishing our objectives.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Curriculum
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Television*