Communication skills training in undergraduate medical education at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

Kienle, Rolf; Freytag, Julia; Lück, Susanne; Eberz, Peter; Langenbeck, Sylke; Sehy, Victoria; Hitzblech, Tanja (2021). Communication skills training in undergraduate medical education at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. GMS Journal for Medical Education, 38(3), Doc56. German Medical Science 10.3205/zma001452

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Objective: The objective of this article is a description of the longitudinal communication curriculum in the Model Medicine Curriculum (MSM) at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The authors describe the planning and integration of the curriculum into the study program, outline how communicative competence is taught and evaluated in the MSM, and identify which challenges need to be mastered in the process. Project description: Starting with the introduction of the MSM in 2010, students have been spending 102 class hours, spread out over seven semesters, practicing social and communicative competences in the interactive small group format "Communication, Interaction & Teamwork (KIT)". The course contents are closely linked to the topics covered each semester and increase in complexity over the course of their studies. The contents are selected by the KIT planning group whose members continually check the curriculum's timeliness and determine any changes. Students as well as instructors have opportunities for evaluating KIT throughout, and their evaluations are taken into consideration as KIT continues to be updated. Instructors from different disciplines teach KIT courses. They participate in mandatory didactic trainings that prepare them to teach KIT. During their 4th and 9th semesters, respectively, students take summative exams that test their communicative competence. Results: According to the semester evaluations by students and instructors, students participating in KIT improved their conversation management skills (students: M=2.2, SD=1.1, instructors: M=1.9, SD=0.7, on a scale of 1-5). In addition, students and graduates rate KIT to be (very) relevant, consider the degree to which it is taught in the MSM to be (very) high, and consider KIT to be a meaningful part of the curriculum. Students taking the summative exams in their 4th and 9th semesters achieve a mean score of 75.9%, respectively 76.9%, in the purely communicative stations and 82.6%, respectively 83.3%, in the global evaluation of communicative competence in clinical-practical stations. Discussion: Survey and exam results alike indicate that the communication training is well accepted by students and instructors and that the training led to an improvement in general and specific communicative skills. Due to a lack of control groups or a pre-post design, it has thus far not been possible to unequivocally demonstrate a causal relationship between communicative competence trainings and good test results. Quality control measures, such as trainings for instructors and regular course evaluations, have been designed to address any challenges in the implementation of the communication curriculum at the faculty level. Conclusion: Building on the experience with the Charité's Reformed Medical Curriculum, a longitudinal, competence-based communication curriculum was integrated into the MSM's overall curriculum. This measure remedied a gap in the medical training that many graduates of regular study programs had previously bemoaned (Jansen 2010 [1]).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute for Medical Education
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute for Medical Education > Education and Media Unit (AUM)

UniBE Contributor:

Hitzblech, Tanja


600 Technology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




German Medical Science




Eveline Götschmann-Meile

Date Deposited:

21 Jun 2021 15:02

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2021 03:06

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

communication communication curriculum communicative competence faculty development medical training model medicine curriculum social competence




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