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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 181-186

Using qualitative research for curricular redesign of communication skills training in a dental school: From gap identification to leveraging stakeholder voices for facilitating change

1 Urja-Catalysts for Transformation, Bengaluru; MHPE Student, School of Health Professions Education, Maastricht University, The Netherlands; Department of Public Health Dentistry, D A Pandu Memorial RV Dental College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Community Medicine & Dean Medical Education, Believers Church Medical College, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jyotsna Sriranga
63, Sri Shankara Krupa, Hare Krishna Road, 3rd Cross, 7th Main, Akshayanagara West, Bengaluru - 560 068, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/amhs.amhs_240_22

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Background and Aim: Poor patient-health care provider (HCP) communication skills are a major contributor for noncompliance, lack of trust and sometimes even violence against the HCPs. The students are expected to pick up communication competency through observation and self-learning. In this context, there is a need to bring in the implicit curriculum to the ambit of the explicit curriculum. Here, the focus was on “listening” to the stakeholder's voice to establish the need for explicit communication skills training and justify its importance to professional practice. Materials and Methods: A socioconstructivist world-view and qualitative research methodology was adopted. The method of data collection was interviews and focus group discussions. The dean, teaching faculty, students, and patients were interviewed until data saturation. The data were transcribed and a team of 3 coders coded the data manually using inductive methods. Results: This study identified the gaps in the existing curricular framework for teaching communication skills. Six major themes emerged from the research. The research process served as a tool to leverage on the gaps identified and build a customized communication skills training program for students. Conclusion: The process of qualitative research involves the extensive interviews and discussions with stakeholders to better understand the underlying issues. It initiates dialogs and helps to co-construct solutions to the educational problems. Such self-discovered solutions for change in curriculum that emerges from key stakeholders from within the institution, they are more likely to be accepted, adopted and “institutionalised”.

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