Perceptions of medical students and their facilitators on clinical communication skills teaching, learning, and assessment

Sari Puspa Dewi*, Amanda Wilson, Robbert Duvivier, Brian Kelly, Conor Gilligan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)



Despite various efforts to develop communication skills (CS) in the classroom, the transfer of these skills into clinical practice is not guaranteed. This study aimed to identify barriers and facilitators of transferring CS from the classroom to clinical environments. 


A qualitative study was conducted at one Australian medical school to explore the experiences and perceptions of facilitators and students in relation to teaching and learning clinical CS. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data. 


Twelve facilitators and sixteen medical students participated in semi-structured interviews and focus-group discussions, respectively. Primary themes included the value of teaching and learning, alignment between approaches to teaching and actual clinical practices and students’ perceptions of practice, and challenges in different learning environments. 


This study reinforces the value of teaching and learning CS by facilitators and students. Classroom learning provides students with a structure to use in communicating with real patients, which can be modified to suit various situations. Students have limited opportunities, however, to be observed and receive feedback on their real-patient encounters. Classroom session that discussed CS experiences during clinical rotation is recommended to strengthen learning both the content and process of CS as well as transitioning to the clinical environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1168332
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


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