Watch For More Complex Communication Skills Requirements on Step 2 Clinical Skills Examination

The National Board of Medical Examiners decided to expand their emphasis on physician-patient communication skills, in line with research showing that these skills are linked to better patient outcomes.  Starting in June, 2012, standardized patient training has included items related to: “paying attention to the patient”, “exploring the patient’s reaction to illness”, “providing understandable information about the working diagnosis”, “finalizing plans for next steps”, and “facilitating the patient’s expression of feelings”.  The Board plans future work on “enabling disease and treatment-related behaviors”, “advanced decision making”, and “advanced responding to emotions”.  Look for angry and manipulative standardized patients on your next clinical skills exam! — Laura Willett, MD

Hoppe RB, King AM, Mazor KM, Furman GE, Wick-Garcia P, Corcoran-Ponisciak H, Katsufrakis PJ. Enhancement of the Assessment of Physician-Patient Communication Skills in the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Acad Med. 2013 Sep 25.

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