Development of Medication-Related Counselling Skills in Senior Medical Students: A Checklist-Based Approach

Shalini Gupta (Lead / Corresponding author), James Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Effective communication between healthcare providers and patients has been established as a vital element in medication compliance and patient safety. Medical curricula worldwide include medication-related counselling skill as a learning outcome for medical graduates. However, this aspect of health-care training is frequently informal and poorly structured in most medical schools. This paper provides an interesting view of students’ experiences of using a checklist-based approach to develop and practice patient counselling in relation to prescribed medications.

Methods: The authors describe introduction of a thirteen item “Patient Education Checklist” (PEC) as part of an optional checklist based exercise (CBE) in year 4 and 5 clinical blocks. Students consulted PEC to discuss relevant practical issues related to medication intake with their patients. Students were expected to submit reflective case summaries regarding their experience of using PEC to counsel patients over a twoweek period. The textual data from student submissions was analysed using inductive content analysis.

Results: We received 13 year4 and 17 year5 student submissions. A content analysis of student reflections identified four dominant themes 1.Enhancement in self-confidence in relation to patient education (86.7%), 2. PEC perceived useful for patient counselling (83.3%), 3. Recognising variation in health literacy levels of patients (50%), 4.Fear of overloading the patient with information (23.3%). Students realised the need to present the medication related knowledge in simple language and tailor the amount of information as per patients’ understanding. Student reflections included interesting observations about the wide variation in health literacy of patients and insights into patients’ concerns and frequent misconceptions about medicines.

Conclusion: Students perceived PEC as a useful tool in adding focus and structure to student patient interactions. They report that it substantially improved their confidence and added quality to patient encounters. Future research is required to assess the effect of CBE on medication compliance and therapeutic outcome. PEC might serve as a useful resource for pharmacy and nursing students.
Original languageEnglish
Article number335
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2019


  • Checklist
  • Effective communication
  • Medication-related counselling
  • Patient safety
  • Undergraduate teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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