Aim: This paper is a report of a study of the effects of communication-skills training for healthcare professionals on parents' perceptions of information, care and continuity.
Background: As training in communication skills has been more and more integrated into clinical practice it has been subject to an increasing number of studies. However, the majority of studies have been conducted in outpatient clinics, have only targeted physicians, and have not been evaluated from the perspective of patients.
Method: This intervention study, conducted from 2005 to 2007, was performed to investigate the effect of a 3-day communication course offered to all healthcare professionals in a department of paediatrics. In a pre-/post-test design, the effect of the intervention was evaluated by the parents using electronic questionnaires filled in on touch-screen computers located centrally in the wards.
Results: A total of 895 parents answered the questionnaires before the course (80%) and 1937 answered after the course (72%). For the questions on care and continuity, the proportion of satisfied parents increased statistically significantly for 4 out of 13 questions, e.g. Did you feel that the staff understood you situation? and Did you find that the information given by the different nurses was consistent? For the information questions, no statistically significant differences were found.
Conclusion: It is possible to incorporate key communication skills into clinical practice by targeting all healthcare professionals. Communication skills training using interactive methods such as role-play and feedback on video recordings is recommended.
© 2010 The Authors. Journal of Advanced Nursing © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.