The art of teaching communication skills
The art of teaching communication skills for the clinician is about establishing practices that serve the patients' and their families' needs in a manner that is mutually fulfilling for all involved. It requires the tactful use of boundaries that are patrolled and negotiated and, at all times, mindful of the needs of both parties. As a result, a series of conundrums can plague the teaching of communication skills: the balance of art and science in clinical communication fluctuates throughout medical training and experience; communication involves skills, but it is more than behavioural skills, also requiring much practical wisdom; no one has yet described an effective training programme that captures both the art and the science of communication. Mindful of these challenges, this book seeks to combine the evidence base about communication in cancer care and palliative care with humanity in its practice. Its goal is to integrate the art with the science. This chapter examines four essential elements to the art of teaching communication: the task, the learner, the teacher, and the strategy.
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