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Stephen Abbott, Julie Attenborough, Annie Cushing, Mary Hanrahan and Ania Korszun
Medical and nursing students are often anxious about communicating with patients with mental health problems, even when they have received general communication skills…
Medical and nursing students are often anxious about communicating with patients with mental health problems, even when they have received general communication skills training. Communication is particularly challenging when patients are compulsorily admitted to hospital. The study reported here sought to explore medical and nursing students' attitudes to this challenge, stimulated by watching a DVD illustrating professional‐patient communications in this situation. Facilitated discussions of the DVD were recorded and the transcripts were thematically analysed. A strong commitment to three underlying principles of patient‐centred care emerged.1. A preference for egalitarian over authoritarian relationships between patients and professionals.2. A preference for empathetic over bureaucratic approaches to patients.3. Respect for patients as autonomous beings.Students seemed less aware of the need for clear and effective communication of information, and some appear confused about patient‐professional boundaries.