The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

Communication Skills Workshop for Medicine Residents During Geriatrics Elective


Communication Skills Workshop for Medicine Residents During Geriatrics Elective

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Ravishankar Ramaswamy, MS, Alicia Williams, MS
POGOe Id: 
Date Posted: 
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 

Effective communication is essential to health care delivery, especially in care of the elderly, and is associated with increased adherence to treatment and patient satisfaction. This communication skills workshop was created to be integrated in the 4-week Geriatrics block in the first year of Internal Medicine residency training. The workshop consists of 2 small group sessions, ~75 minutes each, requiring a facilitator and 2 or more trainees. Learning format includes didactic learning, discussion, role-play and self-study. Skills taught include Active Listening, Ask-Tell-Ask and SPIKES [Baile WF, et al., Oncologist 2000; 5:302–311]. The product includes a faculty guide and a trainee guide for each of the 2 sessions; a pre-test questionnaire to be completed by trainees prior to session 1, a post-test questionnaire to be completed by trainees after session 2, and a follow-up questionnaire to be completed at 3 months after completion of the curriculum. These questionnaires collect anonymous demographic information about the participants, comfort and confidence in use of communication skills before and after the course, and feedback from the students about the different components of the workshop. There are no right or wrong answers, but information gathered should be used to improve future sessions of the course.

Educational objectives: 

At the end of the 2 sessions of this communication skills workshop, participants will:

  1. Recognize the importance of effective communication in a physician-patient relationship.
  2. Practice specific skills to improve communication in regular and challenging situations, such as Ask-Tell-Ask and SPIKES.
  3. Demonstrate increased comfort and confidence in their communication with older patients.
Content Categories: 
Intended learner audience: 
Geriatric Competencies: 
Estimated time to complete: 
2 hours
Conflict of Interest Disclosure: 
No, I (we) have nothing to disclose.
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:
Dr. Ravishankar Ramaswamy

Suggested Citation:
Dr. Ravishankar Ramaswamy and Dr. Alicia Williams. Communication Skills Workshop for Medicine Residents During Geriatrics Elective. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2012 Available from: