Interpersonal skills education for undergraduate nurses and paramedics

Interpersonal skills can be described and defined in numerous ways; however a common premise throughout the literature is that they are linked to human interaction and contribute substantially to establishing a high quality caring relationship with patients. Furthermore they are paramount to nurses’ and paramedics’ abilities to operate within diverse, challenging environments and highly charged emotional situations. The aim of this review was to explore how undergraduate programmes are teaching these skills and with what outcomes.MethodsA literature search was conducted using electronic databases, Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO and ERIC.Results2838 articles were initially identified with only 6 remaining for analysis after applying the inclusion/exclusion criteria. No relevant data pertaining to paramedic undergraduate interpersonal skills was located for inclusion. Undergraduate nursing programmes used more traditional classroom approaches in conjunction with engaging, highly realistic activities. The use of evaluation tools in combination with student self-reporting appeared to be the most thorough and accurate way of evaluating such humanistic skills which are more difficult to quantify than clinically based skills.ConclusionThis literature review has highlighted the lack of research into the teaching and development of interpersonal skills in undergraduate paramedic programmes and a need for this to occur in the future.

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