Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Using Cinemeducation (Film) To Teach Interpersonal and Communication Skills


To raise awareness and stimulate reflection and discussion among residents and faculty about such issues as breaking bad news, medical interviewing, and the psychosocial impact of terminal illness


1. Residents will be able to reflect on the importance of physician-patient communication skills
2. Residents will be able to apply good methods of delivering bad news
3. Residents will be able to describe the impact of terminal illness on the patient and the family.

Learning Activity:

Cinemeducation is an excellent way to promote discussion on a wide range of topics in Interpersonal and Communication Skills. This article describes the use of “The Doctor,” to teach communication skills such as interviewing, breaking bad news, and the psychosocial impact of terminal illness. Initially, the film is introduced to residents and they are asked to view the video clip. Discussion questions are provided in the article for residents to discuss in a group format.
Program Directors also should encourage residents to bring forth their own cases or experiences in order to encourage application of information. Small group or large group discussion format can be used with the following types of questions:

• What are might the physicians have done differently to more successfully deliver the bad news to the patient and his wife?
• How can you be of assistance to patients and their families in facilitating open discussion about serious illness?
• What are challenges faced by physicians in balancing work and home lives?

For a broader list of topics, please see the resource guide Cinemeducation. Ideas for teaching communication skills, specific time counters for the film clips and specific discussion questions are included for a wide range of films and topic areas.

Resource Guide:

Alexander M, Lenahan P, Pavlov A. Cinemeducation. Radcliffe Publishers. Dallas, Texas. 2005.

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