Communication in healthcare: experience of students and professionals from teaching- learning to practice in health

Int J Med Educ. 2023 Mar 30;14:23-35. doi: 10.5116/ijme.6412.f49b.


Objectives: This study aimed to understand the teaching-learning experience in the Communication in Healthcare class among students, teaching assistants, and health professionals, as well as its applications to professional practice.

Methods: This is a qualitative study with a theoretical approach based on Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneutics and a methodological framework based on Minayo and Bardin's thematic content analysis. Communication in Healthcare is an elective multiprofessional class, which lasts one semester and is offered regularly. All former students (n = 368) were invited to participate by email, and 30 participated in these focus groups (13 students, 8 teaching assistants, and 9 health professionals). The online focus groups took place on an online platform, and they were video-recorded and subsequently transcribed. Through cross-sectional and vertical analysis, the main themes were identified.

Results: The Communication in Healthcare class was an important step for personal, professional, and interprofessional formation and development of communication competence. The following dominant themes were identified: 1) motivation for signing up, 2) prior expectations, 3) meaning of the experience and shaping moments, 4) how the teaching-learning experience was retained and what was retained, 5) repercussions in relation to self, others, and professional life, and 6) reflections about the curriculum, interprofessional dialogue, and formation.

Conclusions: The teaching-learning experience was important for the formation of communicational competence. This research contributes to medical education and opens teaching-learning paths for communication skills, empathy, dialogue, and interprofessionalism. Future studies with a philosophical hermeneutic framework and online focus groups are indicated for the comprehension of educational interventions in health.

Keywords: focus groups; healthcare communication; medical education; philosophical hermeneutics; teaching-learning.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Curriculum
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Students*
  • Teaching