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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 71-84

Student Attitudes towards Communication Skills Training in a Medical College in Western Nepal

Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal

Correspondence Address:
Ravi P Shankar
Department of Pharmacology, Manipal College of Medical Sciences, PO Box 155, Deep Heights, Pokhara
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Context: Previous studies have shown that students have both positive and negative attitudes towards communication skills training. However, studies in Nepal are lacking. Objectives: The present study was carried out to determine the positive and negative attitudes of student respondents using the previously validated communication skills attitude scale (CSAS) (see Appendix). Methods: The study was carried out among third- and fourth-semester students at the Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal. These students are in the preclinical part of their course and learn the basic science subjects through an integrated, system-based curriculum. Gender, age, nationality of the respondents, occupation of parents, medium of instruction at school, attitude towards communication skills training during the clinical years, and self-rating of communication abilities were recorded. Association of the positive and negative attitudes with these variables was determined using appropriate statistical tests (p<0.05). Findings: A total of 123 students participated in the study; 74 (60.2%) were male, and 104 (84.5%) had studied in English-medium schools. The median positive attitude score was 51 (inter-quartile range 7). Nationality and attitude towards communication skills training during the clinical years showed a significant association. The mean negative attitude scale score was 31.18 (SD=4.96). A significant association was noted with attitude towards communication skills training during the clinical years. Both scales range from 13-65, with higher scores indicating stronger attitudes. Conclusions: Communication skills training should be modified and strengthened. Formal courses during the clinical years are required. Training sessions for the faculty and further studies across different semesters and in different medical colleges in Nepal are needed.

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