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Challenging clinical situations: developing communication skills in situations which may challenge the student’s ethical framework

Abstract:


This project aims specifically at: a) identifying barriers to effective communication between health care workers and patients, which result from stereotyped beliefs around issues of gender and sexuality, and b) working to reduce stigmatizing attitudes towards gay and lesbian patients.

We have already developed highly successful communication skills workshops in mental health and produced a training DVD for medical and nursing students using simulated patients. Previously, we focused on common clinical scenarios, however, students also need to learn skills for more challenging situations.

The intended programme will extend our present model, but will use challenging scenarios containing important but rarely addressed issues: specifically, how gender and sexuality impact on communication between patients and health care professionals. The scenarios we will use will include e.g. a suicidal young man with problems around sexual orientation and a lesbian mother suffering from post-natal depression.

We expect students who use this learning package to achieve a greater awareness of the need to be mindful of their own and their patients’ issues with gender, sexuality and lifestyle, and is aimed at professionals who will work across the whole healthcare field. The effectiveness of this learning package will be evaluated by comparing student performance and attitudes in groups who have and have not participated in the package.

Ania Korszun, Sandra Evans



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