Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Using Faculty Pairs to Practice Coaching Residents on Challenging Communication Skills: A Novel Objective Structured Clinical Exercise (OSCE) Format for Faculty Development

Cindy J. Osman,New York University,New York,NY,Linda Tewksbury,New York University,New York,NY

Background: OSCEs have become a standard format for teaching and assessing communication skills in undergraduate and graduate medical education. Little has been published on the use of OSCEs in faculty development, in particular as a method to assist faculty in teaching communication skills to trainees.


Objectives: To evaluate the acceptability and effectiveness of a faculty development workshop using a novel OSCE format with faculty working in pairs to develop skills in coaching trainees on challenging communication skills.


Design/Methods:  We created two OSCE cases for a faculty development workshop on challenging communication skills: disclosing a medical error and confronting a parent about suspected child abuse. For each case, faculty worked in pairs, with one playing the role of a trainee instructed to take the lead, and the other the supervising faculty. Pairs planned their strategy and then interacted with a standardized patient (SP). After the encounter, faculty and SPs completed formative assessments followed by verbal feedback. The workshop included an initial brief didactic session and group debriefing after the cases. Faculty completed an anonymous workshop assessment, using a Likert scale of 1 (below) to 5 (exceeding expectations). Later, a retrospective pre/post skills self-assessment of teaching and managing challenging communication scenarios was added, using a scale of 1 (Not Effective) to 10 (Effective). Paired t tests were used to analyze the skills self-assessment.



28 faculty participated in the first faculty development session and 16 in a second, run 12 months later. 40/44 (91%) of faculty completed the workshop assessment. Mean overall rating was 4.7. Faculty rated the cases and SPs as realistic (both 4.8) and the SPs feedback as helpful (4.6).

15/16 (94%) faculty participating in the second session completed the retrospective pre/post skill assessment. Faculty self-report of skills increased in teaching challenging communication skills from mean (SD) 7.3(1.1) to 8.1(1.0) (p<.001) and in managing challenging communication scenarios from 7.5(1.1) to 8.4(0.9) (p<.001).



Our workshop on coaching trainees on challenging communication skills using OSCEs was well received by pediatric faculty. Faculty reported skill improvement in both teaching communication skills and managing challenging communication scenarios. Future studies are needed to measure changes in actual skills.