Educational Interventions for Nursing Students to Develop Communication Skills with Patients: A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Mar 26;17(7):2241. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17072241.


Introduction: Nursing students establish therapeutic relationships with their patients and as future nursing professionals, they should be trained to be effective communicators. The objective of this systematic review was to know the impact of educational interventions on nursing students to develop their communication skills with patients.

Methods: A systematic review of literature was carried out. The following databases were consulted: CINAHL, PubMed (Ovid Medline), SCOPUS and Web of Science. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guided this review. As for inclusion criteria, published articles in English from 2000 to 2020 were included. The methodological rigor of the included articles was evaluated with the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Randomized Controlled Trial or Quasi-Experimental Studies. Changes in communication skills with the patient after the implementation of an intervention were analyzed.

Results: Of the included studies in this systematic review (N = 19), two studies were randomized controlled trials, others were single group quasi-experimental studies (N = 11) and two group quasi-experimental studies (n = 6). The majority of the studies were carried out in the USA (n = 7). The most frequent educational intervention was simulation (n = 11). As for the improvement of communication skills, 13 of the 19 articles found statistically significant differences in patient-centered communication skills of nursing students.

Conclusions: This systematic review provides preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of interventions used to train nursing students in patient-centered communication. Although all the interventions obtained significant results in communication skills, it has not yet been determined which methodology is more effective.

Keywords: nurse-patient communication; nursing students; patient-centered communication; systematic review; therapeutic communication; training.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate*
  • Humans
  • Non-Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Pilot Projects
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Students, Nursing*