Aims Evaluation of a 2-day training programme aiming at improving communication skills with adolescents (age 17 to 21) in military healthcare settings of: 1. Doctors of military recruitment centers (MRC); 2. Medical students of the Israeli Medical Corp.
Methods The programme focused on health issues typical to adolescents in military service: risk behaviours; pregnancy; birth control; depression; suicide; eating disorders, as well as on communication emphasizing a dignifying approach. The first day consisted of theoretical discussions. In the second day trainees exercised communication with patients regarding the topics addressed during the first day, utilizing simulation-based workshops. The trainees encountered simulated soldiers (actors) presenting 8 different health concerns. These trainee-actor encounters were video-recorded to be screened during debriefing sessions. At the end of the training workshop trainees completed a 6-grade-Likert-scale questionnaire rating the programme’s quality (actors’ performance, video recordings, facilitators’ contribution) and value (learning communication and clinical skills). They also rated their recommendation to include the programme in future educational courses for military doctors.
Results 118 MRC doctors were trained between 2007 and 2016. Comparing questionnaires of the first and second 5 years’ periods, demonstrated increased ratings: Average rates for the workshop’s quality were 4.6 and 5.4 respectively (p=0.01) and for its value 4.2 and 5.3 respectively (p=0.002). Average rates for including the programme in future courses were 4.6 and 5.5 respectively (p=0.01). The increase in military doctors’ recognition of the significance of training in doctor-patient communication in military healthcare settings led to the implementation of such training to 4th year medical students of the Israeli Medical Corp. 184 students were trained between 2014 and 2017. The average rates for the workshop’s quality and value were 5.4 and 5.1 respectively. The students suggested further similar training when they become military doctors.
Conclusions The simulation-based training programme for improving communication skills with adolescents in military healthcare settings is well appreciated by military doctors for its quality and value, with increase in its rating in the course of 10 years. Medical students of the Israeli Medical Corp. respond similarly to the programme and express a need for further training in communication with adolescents.
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