Communication Skills

The basic science and clinical faculty at SGUSOM have identified competency in communication as a critical clinical skill that students must develop during medical school. As part of SGU’s  educational program, communication skills are a major outcome objective that defines a graduate of  SGU. 

Formal training of communication skills starts in the basic science terms. On clinical rotations extensive but informal exposure to communication skills occurs as students listen to residents and senior physicians.

In addition, the school has purchased a library subscription to a web-based communication skills course developed by Drexel University College of Medicine called “ an interactive learning resource for healthcare communication.”  This course is available to all students at no cost and can be accessed through Sakai. This course and the related exam (discussed below) will be the basis of formal communication skills training and assessment for medical students during their clinical years. The course consists of 42 modules. Students starting clinical training must study and pass a web-based exam on modules 1-12 to be eligible for clinical placement. Students should study the rest of the modules throughout their clinical training, particularly, as it relates to patients they see. In addition, each of the clinical departments has designated the following modules to be an integral part of their rotation:

  • Internal Medicine – Modules 33 Giving Bad News & 32 Advance Directives
  • Surgery – Modules 17 “Informed Decision-Making” & 35 “Discussing Medical Error”
  • Psychiatry – Modules 13 “Responding to Strong Emotions” & 15“Cultural issues In the Interview”
  • Pediatrics – Modules 21 “Communication and Relationships with Children and Parents” & 22 “ The Adolescent Interview”
  • Ob/Gyn – Modules 18 “Exploring Sexual Issues” & 28 “Domestic Violence”
  • Family Medicine – Modules 25 “Diet/Exercise” & 29 “Alcoholism Diagnosis and Counseling”
  • Emergency Medicine – Modules 33 “Giving Bad News” & 38 “Communication within Health Care Teams”

In addition to the above assignments students must complete all remaining modules. These remaining modules do not have to be done at one time.  Students can work at their own pace.  As a graduation requirement, students must complete all 42 modules. (See Appendix K)