This study assessed the degree to which nursing students acquired and retained six generic skills of communication. Fifty-three second year female RN students were randomly assigned to either an experimental group (E-group) which received microtraining, or a nonattention control group (C-group). All subjects completed both the Carkhuff Indices of Communication and Discrimination as pretests. The E-group then had approximately 25 hours of microtraining in six basic communication skills. Following training, each subject completed the Carkhuff Indices again, the Empathy Construct Rating Scale, and a 10- to 15-minute audiotaped interview in which she assumed the role of a helping nurse. Multivariate analysis of covariance indicated a significant main effect suggesting that the E-group performed better than the C-group when all the measures were combined together. As well, the experimental trainees performed significantly better than the control trainees on empathy, reflection of feeling, and summarizing. The E-group made fewer communication errors, asked fewer closed-questions, made more Good responses, and showed a significant increase in empathy over training. At the nine-month follow-up, while there were no statistically significant differences between the groups on any dependent measure, the E-group outperformed the C-group on all dependent measures.