ZFA-Logo

Attitudes of 4th Year Medical Students Regarding the Achievement of Communication Skills

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2011.135

german translation / full article

Anja Wollny, Attila Altiner, Jürgen in der Schmitten, Andre Karger, Thomas Rotthoff, Achim Mortsiefer, Dorothea Büchtemann

Keywords: physician-patient relations communication skills undergraduate medical education medical students qualitative research

Background: Doctor-patient communication and patient-centeredness are of increasing importance to both doctors and the public. Within a qualitative study we focussed on 4th year medical students’ selfperception of their own communicative competences, attitudes and their experiences during basic medical education.

Methods: We conducted in-depth interviews with nine students. After verbatim transcription the interviews were analysed according to grounded theory.

Results: Medical students define „good“ doctor-patient-communication in terms of „efficacy“ and „control“. Medical students are concerned about the „right distance“ to patients, which they perceive as a sign of professionalism. The results of our analysis show a discrepancy between students’ acknowledgement of the importance of doctor-patient communication and a mostly emotional rejection of such educational content in the medical curriculum. Overwhelmed by the complexity of medicine, 4th year students have nothing more in need as gaining control on their performance. Thus a patient-centred attitude to communication, which allows a certain amount of uncertainness, seems unfavourable for medical students at this stage of their professional development.

Conclusions: Accepting this phenomenon may help to develop more student-centred approaches in education on medical communication.


(State: 18.03.2011)

Latest Issue 7-8/2019

In Focus

  • Selenium in the Prevention of Malignant Tumors
  • Palliative Sedation – What the Family Physician Should Know
  • De-Individualizing in Primary Medical Health Care