Author Credentials

Ny’Nika T. McFadden, PhD, Connie C. Leeper, MD, MPH, Catanya G. Stager, PhD, Amanda H. Wilkerson, PhD, CHES®

Author ORCID Identifier

Ny'Nika McFadden https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9503-5374

Catanya Stager https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5604-6310

Amanda Wilkerson https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5116-9012


communication apprehension, communication training, family medicine interns


Health Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Interprofessional Education | Medicine and Health Sciences

Grant Award Number




Assessing and addressing possible deficiencies in medical school training is important for residency programs. Due to virtual rotations and low patient volumes, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted medical students’ opportunities to practice patient communication. Communication skills are essential for medical students and residents. Continuous participation in communication training can increase the self-efficacy of healthcare professionals. Due to the likely impact of COVID-19, we designed and implemented a tailored workshop that focused on increasing 16 incoming family medicine interns’ level of comfort communicating with patients and their families.


Sixteen incoming family medicine interns participated in the workshop during orientation in summer 2021. Workshop activities included personalized communication results, open-ended discussions about breaking bad news and improving health literacy, a medical jargon game, and teach-back method scenarios interacting with mock patients and mock patient’s family members. Pre- and post-assessment surveys were administered electronically. Communication apprehension (PRCA-24) and preferred style of communication (CSM) were measured in the pre-assessment. Satisfaction with the workshop was evaluated post-assessment.


Interns demonstrated average communication apprehension pre-assessment. The most common (n=12) communication style was friendly. Post-assessment findings revealed that most respondents rated the workshop as useful (n=5) and somewhat useful (n=5). Many (n=5) respondents recommended this training. Responses for individual questions ranged from 9 (56%) to 12 (75%) of the 16 interns. Interns suggested future workshops include increased time for the teach-back method scenarios.


Interns whose medical school training was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic found communication training useful. Future workshops should assess changes in communication outcomes post-assessment to determine the impact of the training. Additionally, future studies should consider incorporating a communication theory as a framework to determine appropriate communication activities that can address medical students, interns, or residents’ communication apprehension.


communication apprehension, communication training, family medicine interns