Deakin University

File(s) under permanent embargo

The effectiveness of training interventions on nurses' communication skills: a systematic review

journal contribution
posted on 2020-06-01, 00:00 authored by Debra KerrDebra Kerr, J Ostaszkiewicz, Patricia Dunning, Peter MartinPeter Martin
Objectives: The objective of this systematic review was to identify, critically appraise and synthesise evidence for the effectiveness of communication skills training interventions in nursing practice. Design: A systematic review of literature. Data sources: Randomised controlled trials published in English from 1998 to 2018, identified in five computerised databases (Medline, Cinahl, Embase, Psychinfo and Cochrane Database). Studies were included if they reported an educational intervention to enhance nurses' communication with patients and contained an objective measure of communication skills and/or patient outcome measures. Review methods: The Preferred reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses guided the review. Data were extracted regarding study design and effectiveness on nurses' communication skills. Trial quality was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist. The heterogeneity of the included studies prohibited meta-analysis. Results: Of the 7811 papers identified, seven trials met the eligibility criteria. The quality was modest. Training programs varied significantly in duration, structure, location and use of outcome measurement tools. Five trials focused on communication with cancer patients using simulated patients. All trials found at least one statistically significant improvement for nurses' communication skills. Conclusions: Educational interventions to enhance nurses' capacity to communicate with patients show promise. The paper reports the first systematic review of randomised controlled trials concerning the effect of communication skills training on nurses' abilities to communicate with patients, inclusive of non-cancer settings. The direct impact of educational interventions on nurses' communication skills is difficult to measure arising from non-standardised outcome measurement tools. Further research is particularly needed in acute, chronic illness, aged care and community settings.



Nurse education today



Article number



1 - 12




Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal