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Effects of gynaecological education on interpersonal communication skills.

Dulmen, A.M. van, Weert, J.C.M. van. Effects of gynaecological education on interpersonal communication skills. BJOG: International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology: 2001, 108, p. 485-491.
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Objective: To investigate the effects of an experimental communication course on how gynaecologists handle psychosocial issues in gynaecological consultation. Design: Pre-post testing. Multilevel analysis was used to take into account the similarity among encounters with the same gynaecologist. Sample: Eighteen gynaecologists (13 consultants and 5 junior doctors) from different hospitals participated. All gynaecologists videotaped consecutive outpatient encounters before and after attending an intensive training course. Main outcome measures: The communicative performance of the gynaecologists at pre- and post measurement. Results: the gynaecologists recorded a total of 526 outpatient encounters, 272 before and 254 after the training. As a result of the training, gynaecologists' sensitivity to psychoscial aspects of their patients increased. At post measurement, the gynaecologists gave more signs of agreement, became less directive, asked fewer medical questions and more psychosocial questions. No difference was found in the duration of the outpatient visits. With the trained gynaecologists, patients asked more questions and provided more psychosocial information. Conclusions: Junior doctor and clinically experienced gynaecologists can be taught to handle psychosocial issues without lengthening the visit. (aut.ref.)