Lectures and skills workshops as teaching formats in a history-taking skills course for medical students

Med Educ. 1989 Jul;23(4):364-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.1989.tb01561.x.


The consulting skills acquired by medical students during their training are an important determinant of their ability to conduct adequate and efficient clinical interviews. These skills comprise: the acquisition of medical knowledge and the ability to apply this; and communication skills required to obtain full, accurate clinical histories from patients and to be able to give to patients the information they need to comply with prescribed regimens. Until recently, consulting skills training has certainly not had a high profile in medical curricula, despite evidence that students do not gain sufficient expertise during their medical training. A history-taking skills course within the Austin Hospital Clinical School, utilizing mass lecture and small-group skills workshops is described. Independent evaluation of students' videotaped interviews with patients, completed before training, after mass lectures and following small-group workshops, showed that students trained in consulting skills demonstrated significant improvements in interview skills and techniques, compared with a similar group of students for whom training followed the more traditional model. Whilst there were some improvements after mass lectures, most significant gains in history-taking skills were obtained following skills workshops. Ongoing evaluation of these students will determine if these short-term improvements in consultation skills persist over their clinical training and internship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Clerkship*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Teaching / methods
  • Victoria