Twelve tips for teaching brief motivational interviewing to medical students

Elizabeth J. Edwards*, Amy J. Bannatyne, Ashley C. Stark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
182 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Shifting from paternalistic to patient-centred doctor-patient relationships has seen a growing number of medical programs incorporate brief motivational interviewing training in their curriculum. Some medical educators, however, are unsure of precisely what, when, and how to incorporate such training. 

Aims: This article provides educators with 12 tips for teaching brief motivational interviewing to medical students, premised on evidence-based pedagogy. 

Methods: Tips were drawn from the literature and authors’ own experiences. 

Results: The 12 tips are: 

(1) Set clear learning objectives, 

(2) Select experienced educators, 

(3) Provide theoretical perspectives, 

(4) Share the evidence base, 

(5) Outline the “spirit”, principles, and sequence, 

(6) Show students what it looks like, 

(7) Give students a scaffold to follow, 

(8) Provide opportunities for skill practice, 

(9) Involve clinical students in teaching, 

(10) Use varied formative and summative assessments, 

(11) Integrate and maintain, and 

(12) Reflect and evaluate. 

Conclusions: We describe what to include and why, and outline when and how to teach the essential components of brief motivational interviewing knowledge and skills in a medical curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-236
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number3
Early online date25 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2018


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