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Consultation Skills Development

Consultation Skills Development

There are a number of ways you can improve your consultation skills. You may choose to do one of the following:

  1. Attend a consultation skills course and reflect on this.
  2. Undergo a peer review of videotaped consultations, and reflect on the feedback. Audio recording is less effective, but much easier to set up if you are a sessional doctor.
  3. Discuss a videotaped surgery with a colleague trained to give consultation skills feedback. (GP trainers and many associate advisers are trained to provide this type of help.) Reflect on this.
  4. Undertake a simulated surgery with feedback, and reflect on the results. This might be helpful for a small study group, particularly for sessional doctors.
  5. Out of hours treatment centres normally record all telephone conversations with patients and they are warned that recording may be used for training purposes. If you undertake this type of work it is ideally suited to help you review your telephone communication skills, preferably with a peer group or trained facilitator.

Attend a Consultation Skills Course

Consultation Skills courses are available in most regions and provide opportunities for participants to develop, refine, and practice new skills in a safe, supported environment.  Research into communication is ongoing and these courses will provide you with updates on effective techniques, and the opportunity to reflect on ingrained habits.  For information about what is available in your area, contact your local deanery or visit your college website.

For those who wish to develop specific communication skills, other options are available - for example, courses in counselling skills, CBT techniques, coaching or neurolinguistics programming.

Reviewing video recordings of consultations

Watching and reflecting upon a video recording of yourself can be a very useful way of reflecting upon your skills. However, it is usually difficult to gain the maximum from this in isolation.

Please review section on Review of Video Consultations for more information.

Video recordings of consultations is more common practice in general practice, however the Covid pandemic has meant most doctors have had to make use of remote technology for their consultations, making a recording of these sessions more accessible (patient permission granted of course).

Alternatively we have provided a checklist (along with resources) for you to consider your consultation / communication skills.

This page was last updated on: 10/03/2022