Teaching Communication Skills: An Australian Optometry Program’s New Course

Rob Brandenburg, Doctor of Counselling 
Konrad Pesudovs, BscOptom, PhD


Abstract

After a review of the literature, the authors describe the experience of developing and teaching a new communication skills course at Flinders University in South Australia. A follow-up survey indicated that optometry students fully embraced the course and reported that their communication skills had been enhanced in 20 specific domains. The specific skills/tasks for which the most improvement was reported included the ability to accurately reflect feelings and content back to the other person, allowing time for silence, being more self-aware when communicating, and relating effectively with a person who is emotionally distressed. 

Key Words: communication skills, optometry, education, teaching, curriculum

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