Do medical teachers and medical students communicate? a qualitative study

Background: The three components of undergraduate medical education are the teachers, the students, and the curriculum. For a high quality medical education, a good communication level between students and teachers and a good organization of the curriculum are necessary. Good communication skills are a necessary capacityfor a medical teacher. Objective: The evaluation of communication level between medical students and medical teachers in University of Ioannina Medical School. Methods: In a first phase (June 2011), 137 third-year students of the Ioannina University Medical School were asked “Why students and teachers do not communicate?” (open) The response rate was 60% (82/137). In a second phase (December 2011), 132 third-year students of the same school (54 male, 60 female, 18 not declared) were asked whether students and teachers communicate well (yes/no) and why(open), and to propose ways to improve this communication (open). The data were analyzed by two independent investigators (LB, JE), and the whole team discussesthe findings in the light of the communication theories of Pavlov, Shannon, Bateson, and Watzlawick. Results: In the first phase, the obstacles in communication were categorized in the following categories: obstacles related to sender and receiver (71/82), obstacles related with the message and the communication pathway (39/82), and obstacles related with the communication background (21/82). In the second phase, 1student absolutely agreed in the question “Teachers and students communicate very well. Do you agree?”, 15 agreed, 62 rather agreed, 36 rather disagreed, 15 disagreed, and 3 absolutely disagreed; Mainly (115/132) they agreed that this communication could be improved, while few (16) did not. Open questions on why they believe so and how to improve are under analysis. Conclusions: The students consider that there are severe problems in communication between students and teachers, and agree that the situation could be improved.


Saturday, 7 April, 2012 - 11:45 to 13:00