Developing Communication Skills for the General Practice Consultation Process

Jørgen Nystrup, Jan-Helge Larsen, Ole Risør


Medical curriculum revisions all over the world in the last 20 years have increased the numberof teaching hours in communication skills. This article describes a concrete communication skills teaching programme focused on general practice. Since the spring of 1992, more than 2,000 physicians from Denmark,Sweden and Finland have attended courses within this programme in Kalymnos, Greece. The training mainly takes place in groups of 8 doctors and 1 supervisor. The skills training is based on video feedback using the Window Supervision Method described here. We have identified several classical pitfalls for the doctor which this training programme seeks to address. We have also defined the 9 steps in an effective consultation process, which are given the acronym PRACTICAL. The major issue is to discriminate between the patient’s, the doctor’s and the shared part of the communication process. In our experience, this model shortens the consultation time to c. 15 minutes as doctors collaborate with their patients and build up an agreed agenda in order to deal effectively with the main problems of the patients.


General practice; Communication; Skills

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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