Course Outline

MED202 Communication Skills for Medicine

Course Coordinator:Rebecca Donkin ( School:School of Health - Biomedicine

2023Session 7


Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


In this course you will develop communication skills that will prepare you for entry into a graduate medical program. The course will enable you to analyse and reflect on recommended techniques and strategies for communicating with patients of different ages and diverse clinical and ethnic backgrounds. You will develop and apply patient-centred communication skills that are essential for providing adequate medical care.  Classes are highly interactive, and process orientated, providing you with an opportunity to engage in self-inquiry and review your application of skills of effective communication for medicine.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Online Learning Modules (2-hours each module; weeks 1-7) 2hrs Week 1 7 times
Seminar – Course Seminar (1-hour each seminar; weeks 1, 3, 5 and 7) 1hr Week 1 4 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Communication Skills Tutorials (3-hours each week; weeks 1-7) 3hrs Week 1 7 times
Tutorial/Workshop 2 – Simulated Patient Interview (Includes 15-minutes assessment for each student) 5hrs Week 8 Once Only

Course Topics

  • Building a strong foundation in medical communication skills.
  • Exploring the role of the doctor.
  • What is a patient? Disease versus illness; patient-centred care; exploring the patient experience.
  • Foundational communication skills. Active listening, listening blocks, question styles.
  • Structure of the clinical interview using social history.
  • Communicating about sensitive issues and dealing with strong emotions.
  • The patient simulation interview.
  • Reflective writing practices.

What level is this course?

200 Level (Developing)

Building on and expanding the scope of introductory knowledge and skills, developing breadth or depth and applying knowledge and skills in a new context. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally, undertaken in the second or third full-time year of an undergraduate programs.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Critically evaluate evidence-based literature on the latest health communication research and clinical patient data. Creative and critical thinker
2 Describe, analyse and reflect on skills of effective communication for patients of different ages and diverse clinical and ethnic backgrounds. Creative and critical thinker
3 Apply skills of effective communication for medical consultation that establishes a caring and empathetic relationship with patients and enables the gathering of clinical information to facilitate an accurate diagnosis, appropriate counselling and correct therapeutic intervention. Engaged

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


144 units and enrolled in SC385




Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

An appreciation of foundation principles in public health and an awareness of professional ethical behaviour for healthcare workers.

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Limited Grading (PNP)

Pass (PU), Fail (UF). All assessment tasks are required to be passed for successful completion of the course.

Details of early feedback on progress

Students will be provided with early feedback on their preparation and participation in the communication skills workshops by their clinical facilitator.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Activity Participation Individual
Facilitator feedback
Refer to Format In Class
All 2 Journal Individual
1500-words (±10%) total.
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Practical / Laboratory Skills Individual
15 min
Week 8 In Class
All - Assessment Task 1:Activity Participation
The goal of this assessment task is to provide you with feedback during the course about your level of preparation for and participation in the communication skills tutorials.
Product: Activity Participation
Submit: Weeks 1-7.

A marking criteria sheet will be used by your facilitator to score your level of preparation, participation, and professionalism. You must pass this assessment task for successful completion of the course. 
Attendance at the communication skills tutorials is compulsory.
Please refer to the Assessment Information module in the MED202 Canvas Dashboard for more specific details about communication skills activity participation.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Develop a collaborative learning partnership between yourself, student peers and your clinical facilitator by engaging in communication skills tutorials and associated activities.
Preparation for each tutorial, punctuality at the tutorials, completion of pre-readings, and use of learning resources and library databases.
Meaningfully engage with the other members of your tutorial group (feedback and online discussion).
All - Assessment Task 2:Journal
The goal of the journal is for you to think deeply about the central learning concepts that you are presented in this course. Your journal will be three reflective written activities (500-words per activity) that will be examined by your clinical facilitator. Students will be directed to complete the journal activities throughout the course.
Product: Journal
Submit: Weeks 1-7.

Advice on your journal and reflective writing strategies will be provided during week 1. Your MED202 tutor will provide you with ongoing feedback about your journal activities. Refer to the Assessment Information module in the MED202 Canvas Dashboard for specific details about the journal.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Critically evaluate your understanding of the communicating skills described and discussed in the course tutorials and how they can be applied in a medical context.
1 2
Source relevant literature on communication skills in healthcare and reflected on the literature in the context of the course tutorial discussions.
Adhere to the formatting guidelines for the Reflective Journal, including your overall presentation and standard of written expression, spelling and grammar.
All - Assessment Task 3:Simulated patient interview
The goal of the simulated patient interview is to demonstrate competency in applying communication skills during a patient-simulated clinical scenario.
Product: Practical / Laboratory Skills
The simulated patient interview will be comprised of a clinical interview scenario during which you will be examined by a clinical examiner on your performance and competence in applying medical communication skills learned during the course. The scenario will involve an actor as the simulated patient. The scenario will be based on the case scenarios discussed in the course tutorials that you will participate in during the semester.

The clinical examiners will use a scoring checklist to assess you objectively on your performance during the scenario. You will be ranked on each grading criterion in accordance with the specific actions that you undertake in communicating with the patient during the scenario.

Refer to the Assessment Information module in the MED202 Canvas Dashboard for specific details about the simulated patient interview and how it will be scheduled during Week 8 of Session 7.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate effective communication techniques (verbal and non-verbal).
Demonstrate active listening skills (verbal and non-verbal)
Identify and evaluate the clinical problem that the patient wants to address.
Apply patient-centred communication

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.


Period and Topic Activities
Building a strong foundation in medical communication skills.
Overview of medical communication.
Professionalism, and psychological safety and feedback in communicating.
Teamwork and team culture.
Exploring the role of a doctor and a patient.
What is it like to be a doctor?
Reflective practice and lifelong learning.
Self-care and mindfulness.
What is a patient?
Patient-centred care.
Exploring the patient experience.
Foundational communication skills (Part 1).
Active listening, listening blocks, and question styles.
Team building activities.
Foundational communication skills (Part 2).
Application of basic communication skills in simulation; putting it into practice.
Structure of the clinical interview - social history.
Practice applying structure to the interview using social history (e.g. home life, employment, hobbies).
Intermediate communication skills - sensitive issues.
Practice sensitive question techniques using social history (e.g. alcohol, cigarette and drug use).
Advanced communication skills - dealing with strong emotions.
Practice dealing with strong emotions and displaying empathy (e.g. self-care, mindfulness).
Simulated patient interview.
In-class simulated patient interview assessment.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required Margaret Lloyd,Robert Bor,Lorraine M. Noble 2018 Clinical Communication Skills for Medicine (4th Edn.) Elsevier

Specific requirements

The classes for MED202 will be scheduled at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute (SCHI), which is located at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. You will be expected to arrange your own transport to the hospital for your MED202 classes.

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

This course will be graded as Pass in a Limited Grade Course (PU) or Fail in a Limited Grade Course (UF) as per clause 4.1.3 and 4.1.4 of the Grades and Grade Point Average (GPA) - Institutional Operating Policy of the USC.
In a course eligible to use Limited Grades, all assessment items in that course are marked on a Pass/Fail basis and all assessment tasks are required to be passed for a student to successfully complete the course. Supplementary assessment will be available in this course. 

Assessment: Submission penalties

You must contact your Course Coordinator and provide the required documentation if you require an extension or alternate assessment.


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The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

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To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

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