Current trends in Communication Skills Training in UK schools of medicine

Owen Hargie, Mairead Boohan, Mairead McCoy, Pauline Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Communication Skills Training (CST) is now mandatory for all students in UK Schools of Medicine. However, the extent to which all schools follow a similar curriculum is unclear.

AIMS: This paper reports the findings of a survey of CST teaching in all UK Schools and compares the findings with an earlier survey.

METHODS: A specially designed questionnaire survey was sent to all Schools, and this was supplemented by follow-up telephone interviews.

RESULTS: There is a high level of consensus across Schools about the aims and objectives of CST, its location within the overall curriculum, and how it is assessed. There is also a dedicated staff member specifically responsible for CST delivery in all Schools. A wide number of different specialisms also contribute to training. However, wide variations remain in CST pedagogy. In addition, several problems were identified in relation to the integration and operation of CST.

CONCLUSIONS: While the paper identifies and delineates a typical or 'modal' model of CST in UK Schools of Medicine, it also emphasizes the importance of flexibility in this part of the curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-91
Number of pages7
JournalMedical teacher
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Communication
  • Curriculum/trends
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Professional Competence
  • Schools, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom


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