An evaluation of a communication skills course for health visitor students

Valerie Crute, Owen Hargie, Roger Ellis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper presents part of the findings of an extensive empirical evaluation of a communication skills training programme for health visitor students The programme was designed to develop the health visitors' ability to communicate with clients A wide range of interpersonal skills were addressed and the training format involved skill analysis, roleplay practice and video-recorded feedback. The method of evaluation included an appraisal of the health visitors' social behaviour in a roleplay of a home-visit to a pregnant client Data were collected, both before and following training, in an attempt to assess changes in trainee behaviour The analysis took the form of a detailed frequency measurement of behavioural elements of health visitor performance, and a global rating of social competence by independent judges Results of the analyses indicated that 14 out of the 20 behavioural variables changed in the desired direction Thus, for example, following training the health visitors used significantly more open questions and verbal encouragers, and significantly fewer multiple questions and interruptions when communicating with the client They were also rated significantly higher on the rating scale for social competence following training These findings would seem to suggest that the training programme had a considerable degree of success The findings are discussed in terms of the implications for development of health visitors' social skills, the need for more sophisticated measures of social behaviour and for the formulation of a model of competent professional practice in this area
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)546-552
    JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1989


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