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Using forum theatre to teach communication skills within an undergraduate pharmacy curriculum : a qualitative evaluation of students' feedback

Jacob, Sabrina Anne and Larter, James and Blair, Andrew and Boyter, Anne (2019) Using forum theatre to teach communication skills within an undergraduate pharmacy curriculum : a qualitative evaluation of students' feedback. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 11 (4). pp. 373-381.

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    Background and purpose: Pharmacists need to learn communication styles which adopt a more consultative model. The objectives of this paper are to describe the use of forum theatre facilitated by actors to teach communication skills to pharmacy students and to highlight perceptions of the workshops. Educational activity and setting: During the actor-led forum theatre, students redirected scenes depicting pharmacist-patient consultations. Students also learned about their own communication styles and role-played consultations and interview situations with actors. Pharmacy undergraduate students enrolled in years 2, 3, and 4 answered open-ended questions online at the end of workshops. All responses were coded to identify themes. Findings: Five themes emerged from 752 comments: (1) workshops were useful in facilitating communication skills development, (2) workshops encouraged reflection, (3) appreciation of feedback provided, (4) the live, interactive nature of the workshop enhanced learning, and (5) suggestions for improvement. There were requests for more varied scenarios involving different patient groups and more opportunities to participate in the role-plays. Students also requested smaller groups, which would encourage participation from those who were reticent and allow more personal feedback. The use of forum theatre employing role-play, small group coaching on consultation and interview skills, and emphasizing feedback was perceived as an effective and engaging method to teach communication skills.