“Talk to them”: Teaching communication skills to students of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Sue Dean, Christopher Zaslawski, Michael Roche, Jon Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore students’ perceptions of the efficacy and value of teaching communication skills in a health professional
course for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Methods: Individual surveys were used to evaluate students’ self-assessment of their communication skills pre and post a
communication subject in a four-year degree course in a Bachelor of Health Science in TCM at a large metropolitan university in
Australia. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected.
Results: Findings indicate that students recognise the need for good communication skills training as part of their professional
training and self-reported that their communication skills improved following a semester of study of a communication subject.
Conclusions: One of the primary components driving increasing demand for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM),
which includes TCM, is that consumers place a high value on effective communication and quality engagement with their CAM
provider. Communication skills are often seen as the cornerstone of good health care practice, patient recovery and practitioner
job satisfaction. Implementing a focused communication skills component in health professional educational programs, including
those for TCM, is therefore essential. Further research is needed to explore the retention of these skills throughout health
professionals’ degree programs and after graduation and clinical experience, to evaluate the effectiveness and sustainability of
personal communication skills education. Practice implications: Communication skills training should be incorporated into health
care profession curricula, early in the program and integrated with clinical exposure.
Key Words: Communication skills, Health care professions education, Student perceptions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nursing Education and Practice
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


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