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Using conversation analysis to inform role play and simulated interaction in communications skills training for healthcare professionals: identifying avenues for further development through a scoping review

Pilnick, A; Trusson, D; Beeke, S; O'Brien, R; Goldberg, S; Harwood, RH; (2018) Using conversation analysis to inform role play and simulated interaction in communications skills training for healthcare professionals: identifying avenues for further development through a scoping review. BMC Medical Education , 18 , Article 267. 10.1186/s12909-018-1381-1. Green open access

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Abstract

Background This paper responds to previously published debate in this journal around the use of sociolinguistic methods in communication skills training (CST), which has raised the significant question of how far consultations with simulated patients reflect real clinical encounters. This debate concluded with a suggestion that sociolinguistic methods offer an alternative analytic lens for evaluating CST. We demonstrate here that the utility of sociolinguistic methods in CST is not limited to critique, but also presents an important tool for development and delivery. Methods Following a scoping review of the use of role play and simulated interaction in CST for healthcare professionals, we consider the use of the specific sociolinguistic approach of conversation analysis (CA), which has been applied to the study of health communication in a wide range of settings, as well as to the development of training. Discussion Role play and simulated interaction have been criticised by both clinicians and sociolinguists for a lack of authenticity as compared to real life interactions. However they contain a number of aspects which healthcare professionals report finding particularly useful: the need to think on one’s feet in real time, as in actual interaction with patients; the ability to receive feedback on the simulation; and the ability to watch and reflect on how others approach the same simulation task in real time. Since sociolinguistic approaches can help to identify inauthenticity in role play and simulation, they can also be used to improve authenticity. Analysis of real-life interactions using sociolinguistic methods, and CA in particular, can identify actual interactional practices that are used by particular patient groups. These practices can then be used to inform the training of actors simulating patients. In addition, the emphasis of CA on talk as joint activity means that proper account can be taken of the way in which simulated interaction is co-constructed between simulator and trainee. Summary We suggest that as well as identifying potential weaknesses in current role play and simulation practice, conversation analysis offers the potential to enhance and develop the authenticity of these training methods.

Type: Article
Title: Using conversation analysis to inform role play and simulated interaction in communications skills training for healthcare professionals: identifying avenues for further development through a scoping review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-018-1381-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-018-1381-1
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Role play, Simulated patient, Simulated interaction, Communications skills training, Conversation analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062470
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