To focus on good practice in communication in a healthcare context.


Good communication skills are not an optional extra for healthcare professionals. Communication is a core clinical skill which has an impact on accuracy, efficiency and supportiveness.  

Good communication skills create, build and maintain the environment of rapport and trust crucial to any functional relationship. Rapport between clinician and patient helps to build honesty and mutual respect. Patients are more likely to talk about their symptoms freely and honestly, as well as their feelings, beliefs and expectations. Patients who feel good about their relationship with their doctor are more likely to follow advice and less likely to complain.

Good communication also has an effect on the wider healthcare system, improving quality of care and patient safety. Much of the material in this resource is based on the Calgary-Cambridge guides developed to describe effective physician-patient communication skills.  The guides are commonly used in medical education in Australian institutions, and are recommended reading for all healthcare professionals (Kurtz, Silverman & Draper, 2005; Silverman, Kurtz & Draper, 2005).


Each case has activities that focus on communication.  Choose one of the communication activities from the menu on the right.