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What is the evidence for the use of simulation training to teach communication skills in psychiatry?

Abstract

Training in communication skills is a vital part of medical education worldwide and essential for psychiatrists, with poor communication often cited as a key contributing factor in healthcare complaints. Simulation training is a rapidly developing educational modality, and educationalists need to be aware of its possible uses and pitfalls in teaching communications skills in psychiatry. By exploring the advantages and disadvantages of the use of simulation training as a method of teaching communication skills in psychiatry, this article demonstrates a clear consensus in the literature that, while there are a number of difficulties to be overcome in simulation training, these are outweighed by the clear educational gains. In areas where resources are limited, there are suitable variations of simulation training which can be employed. Simulation training can facilitate teaching clinical and non-clinical skills simultaneously, and the use of simulation in mental health is an ideal method for addressing gaps in knowledge and skills relating to communication with patients, which could directly translate to an improvement in patient care.

  • adult psychiatry
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