Address patient needs with excellent communication skills

The Communication Skills Program is responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of teaching communication skills across the continuum of medical education.

Continuing Professional Development and Faculty Development

As proponents of life-long learning, we acknowledge that faculty and practicing physicians may want to improve their communication skills and promote the importance of communication skills in medicine for physicians in their role as teachers/learners and collaborators within health care teams. To address this need, we provide continuing professional development and faculty development training that is suited to the needs of practicing clinicians.

We offer guidance on how to effectively assess and evaluate the communication skills of your students and residents or help you to improve your own communication skills through the following offerings:

  • Faculty training on effective strategies for teaching and assessing communication skills to adequately prepare medical learners for CanMED's role of communicator (patient-doctor communication), collaborator (team dynamics and conflict management), and scholar (providing feedback, dealing with challenging learners).
  • Faculty of Medicine member training in feedback and evaluation skills
  • Identifying and working with faculty role models and "champions" of communication skills in medicine

A great reference tool

We developed the communication skills pocket cards for medical students, residents, faculty and clinicians to use as a portable communication skills resource.

The Medical Interview – Calgary Cambridge Guide [PDF - 76 kB]
Identifies foundational “how to” interviewing skills that can be applied to all patient-doctor interactions.

The Medical History – Content [PDF - 97 kB]
Includes the basic content and organization of the medical history as well as functional inquiry questions which are asked in non-medical language.

Explanation And Planning in the Medical Interview – Calgary Cambridge Guide [PDF - 86 kB]
Affirms the physician’s role as a teacher/giver of information who partners with the patient and engages in shared decision-making and planning.

The Angry Patient [PDF - 84 kB]
Identifies an approach that will help physicians manage and de-escalate anger in patients to enable them to engage in dialogue and mutual problem-solving.

Breaking Bad News [PDF - 78 kB]
Identifies an approach to giving bad news that includes the kind of information physicians can elicit from patients that will then allow them to more effectively meet the patient’s needs and preference for information in a supportive empathetic manner.

Disclosing Adverse Events [PDF - 97 kB]
Describes a framework that can be used to guide conversations where there is disclosure of an adverse event. The framework is patient-centred and includes information on apology.

Giving Effective Feedback to Learners & Colleagues [PDF - 82 kB]
Identifies strategies that can maximize the effectiveness of our teaching and learning.

Problem Solving Communication Challenges Using Agenda-Led Outcome-Based Analysis  [PDF - 117 kB]
Outlines a step-by-step "how to" approach to facilitating small group learning of communication skills using chalenging interactions as the basis for skills practice, problem solving and skills development.