Evaluating verbal and non-verbal communication skills, in an ethnogeriatric OSCE

Patient Educ Couns. 2011 May;83(2):158-62. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.05.012. Epub 2010 Jun 18.


Objective: Communication during medical interviews plays a large role in patient adherence, satisfaction with care, and health outcomes. Both verbal and non-verbal communication (NVC) skills are central to the development of rapport between patients and healthcare professionals. The purpose of this study was to assess the role of non-verbal and verbal communication skills on evaluations by standardized patients during an ethnogeriatric Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

Methods: Interviews from 19 medical students, residents, and fellows in an ethnogeriatric OSCE were analyzed. Each interview was videotaped and evaluated on a 14 item verbal and an 8 item non-verbal communication checklist. The relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication skills on interview evaluations by standardized patients were examined using correlational analyses.

Results: Maintaining adequate facial expression (FE), using affirmative gestures (AG), and limiting both unpurposive movements (UM) and hand gestures (HG) had a significant positive effect on perception of interview quality during this OSCE. Non-verbal communication skills played a role in perception of overall interview quality as well as perception of culturally competent communication.

Conclusion: Incorporating formative and summative evaluation of both verbal and non-verbal communication skills may be a critical component of curricular innovations in ethnogeriatrics, such as the OSCE.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Checklist
  • Communication
  • Cultural Competency
  • Curriculum
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Kinesics*
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Students, Medical
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Verbal Behavior*
  • Videotape Recording