Experiences concerning teaching communication at the University of Szeged Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
Postgraduate education started in our University in 1998. This new training system, (absolutely different from previous methods), made our team face new challenges. Postgraduate education required rethinking and remodelling the structure of teaching techniques, as well as of the auditing and evaluating methods we used before. Video recording and video analysis are becoming more and more prevalent teaching and assessment methods in Europe.
There are plentiful techniques to measure the practical skills of resident dentists. These are: direct observation of a resident doctor- patient consultation, or observation of consultation with a simulated patient or the professional analysis of doctor- patient communication recorded on video. If the video recording was carefully processed, the examiner can evaluate the junior doctor’s real communication skills, the validity of the technique is not questionable. Otherwise, in the evaluation of the analysis, it’s necessary to produce a valid scale, but that isn’t a simple project.
Video analysis as a teaching method has been our practice in our postgraduate education programme since 2000. It provides an opportunity for the students to improve their communicational skills and practice in different doctor-patient communication situations. These are general dentist-patient communication, communication with patients with different cultural backgrounds, braking bad news, informed consent, and tailored communicational situations for smoking cessation. We prepared our 2-day Communication Training Programme where dentistry students can practice and deepen their skills in small groups with well-trained simulated patients. We would like to reverently recommend our Communication Training Programme for every inquiring student, tutor and qualified colleague. Our teaching programmes have been running for years with maximal satisfaction of the students and have demonstrated the indispensable importance of the Communication Training Programmes in Postgraduate education.
Since joining Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical University, Department of Family Medicine, University of Szeged Lajos has progressed to the position of Senior Lecturer where his academic and research interest are Consultation skills, consultation behaviour, professional development in general practice.
In 1996 his M.Sc. thesis dealt with the topic of ‘patient – doctor communication’. This quickly became the core for a 10 lesson Communication Training programme he developed that was introduced to the postgraduate programme at the Albert Szent Györgyi Medical University in 1997.
Since 2000 this programme has been a compulsory part of graduate education. Additionally, in their 4th year every student spends a whole day taking part in this training. The program has been a great success amongst students and is considered as a high-quality course. In the following years the programme was also introduced into the dentistry, and English programmes.
Lajos’s priorities and tasks, besides teaching, are constructing the programme, training the instructors, and ensuring professionalism.