A communications module to reinforce motivational interviewing concepts

Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2019 Aug;11(8):843-848. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2019.04.014. Epub 2019 May 30.


Background and purpose: Motivational interviewing (MI) is a patient-centered method of communicating that can be used to improve medication adherence. However, it can be difficult to teach and learn. This paper describes the creation of a stand-alone introductory MI module for second-year pharmacy students and its transformation to a module intended to reinforce content after the addition of a new MI-based course in the first year. It compares student competence in MI skills between the two modules (introductory versus reinforcement).

Educational activity and setting: In 2012 and 2013, an introductory MI module was delivered to second year pharmacy students. In 2014, a course grounded in MI principles was introduced in the first year of the curriculum, with the module in the second year modified to reinforce those principles. All second-year students' MI skills were assessed with an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) case. Overall case scores and individual item scores were compared before and after the addition of the course using assessment data from two years before and after the change.

Findings: Overall case scores (81.9% vs. 86.9%, p = 0.001) significantly improved after the introduction of the new course. Items related to MI skills also improved significantly. Scores for general communication items were not different.

Summary: After the introduction of the new MI-based first-year course, students performed better on items specifically related to MI in an OSCE case. This model can serve as a useful example of how to introduce MI skills and reinforce these skills later in the curriculum.

Keywords: Communication; Motivational interviewing; OSCE.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum / trends
  • Education, Pharmacy / methods
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Humans
  • Motivational Interviewing / methods*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*