Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Medical Education and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Using television shows to teach communication skills in internal medicine residency

Roger Y Wong*, Sadra S Saber, Irene Ma and J Mark Roberts

Author affiliations

Postgraduate Medical Education, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Medical Education 2009, 9:9  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-9-9

Published: 3 February 2009

Abstract

Background

To address evidence-based effective communication skills in the formal academic half day curriculum of our core internal medicine residency program, we designed and delivered an interactive session using excerpts taken from medically-themed television shows.

Methods

We selected two excerpts from the television show House, and one from Gray's Anatomy and featured them in conjunction with a brief didactic presentation of the Kalamazoo consensus statement on doctor-patient communication. To assess the efficacy of this approach a set of standardized questions were given to our residents once at the beginning and once at the completion of the session.

Results

Our residents indicated that their understanding of an evidence-based model of effective communication such as the Kalamazoo model, and their comfort levels in applying such model in clinical practice increased significantly. Furthermore, residents' understanding levels of the seven essential competencies listed in the Kalamazoo model also improved significantly. Finally, the residents reported that their comfort levels in three challenging clinical scenarios presented to them improved significantly.

Conclusion

We used popular television shows to teach residents in our core internal medicine residency program about effective communication skills with a focus on the Kalamazoo's model. The results of the subjective assessment of this approach indicated that it was successful in accomplishing our objectives.