Journal of Indian System of Medicine

LETTER TO EDITOR
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 254--255

Inclusion of communication skill module in undergraduate Ayurveda curriculum: Need of the hour


Priti R Desai 
 Department of Rachana Sharir, Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College Hospital and Research Centre, Wardha, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Priti R Desai
Department of Rachana Sharir, Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College Hospital and Research Centre, Salod (Hirapur), Wardha 442001, Maharashtra.
India




How to cite this article:
Desai PR. Inclusion of communication skill module in undergraduate Ayurveda curriculum: Need of the hour.J Indian Sys Medicine 2019;7:254-255


How to cite this URL:
Desai PR. Inclusion of communication skill module in undergraduate Ayurveda curriculum: Need of the hour. J Indian Sys Medicine [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Jul 7 ];7:254-255
Available from: http://www.joinsysmed.com/text.asp?2019/7/4/254/282378


Full Text



Intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job, but strong communication skills are what will get you promoted.

Mireille Guiliano

Alike all systems of health sciences education, Ayurveda also aims at providing excellence in quality education by acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitude, thereby developing competent, concerned, and compassionate health professionals in Indian system of medicine.

The document published by the World Health Organization in 2010 regarding the benchmarks for training in Ayurveda highlights the learning outcomes for Ayurveda practitioners, which comprise technical skills, communication skills, and professional ethics.[1]

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has defined six general competencies expected from every physician: medical knowledge, patient care, professionalism, interpersonal communication, practice-based learning, and systems-based practice.[2]

Many researchers, educators, and stalwarts in the field of health education had expressed their concerns in regard to the current system of Ayurveda education, which focuses much more on the theoretical aspect (reasonably on performance skills), and pinpointed on acquisition of attitudinal and communication skills.

As defined by the Medical Council of India, among the five defined competencies required by an “Indian Medical Graduate” (IMG), one of them is a communicator with patients, families, colleagues, and community. This competency was recently addressed by the Medical council of India by taking a remarkable step by bringing out a document on “AETCOM” (Attitude, Ethics, and Communication module) that can be integrated within medical curricula, striking a balance between the five identified roles of an IMG.[3]

The acquisition of communication skills is of vital importance for all health professionals. Moreover, when it comes to Ayurveda education, it becomes paramount. Among the various parameters of examination of a patient, Prashna pariksha has a significant role in diagnosis and treatment modality. The core essence of Ayurvedic treatment lies in determination of Prakriti, Kostha, and Agni of an individual, which certainly needs appropriate communication techniques.

Explaining the patient about the Pathyapathya, aushadha sevana kala, and so on, and also the preventive aspects to the common man requires good communication skill.

Today when the world is looking toward Ayurveda as comparatively safer system of medicine, it needs globalization, which is possible only when our Ayurveda physicians can effectively communicate the quintessence of this ancient science to the world.

Considering the increasing issues pertaining to workplace violence through physical and verbal abuse and assault on the doctors by the patients’ relatives, one of the important causal factors to such problems is the communication gap between the health professionals and the patients along with their relatives. Ayurveda physicians have always been an integral part in health delivery system in public and private sectors. Many of our graduates and postgraduates are serving at multispecialty hospitals, wherein they are the first information providers and frequently interacting health providers.

Considering all the aforementioned facts, it becomes imperative that Ayurveda education needs restructuring wherein the undergraduate curriculum should include module on communication skill, which will augment the learning in context to behavioral and attitudinal and professional skills of the learner.

Good clinical and teaching practices are the two areas where Ayurveda practitioners and teachers need to be regularly updated to keep up the standards of health delivery and adequate training of students, respectively, in accordance with the emerging demands.

Though the technology has made many innovations in the field of teaching and also made a drastic change in the old system of teaching and learning with advanced teaching tools and use of technology, the true spirit of teaching methodology lies in effective communication.

The advancement in technology and use of modern gadgets in teaching may be a boon, but it is also a bane, when it comes to interpersonal and communication skills. Today’s learner can effectively communicate across the globe for hours through information and communication technology but fails in effective face-to-face communication even for few minutes. This may be a hindrance for achieving social interaction and attainment of professional ethics.

No matter, what job you have in life, your success will be determined 5% by your academic credentials, 15% by your professional experiences, and 80% by your communication skills.

Anonymous

A communication module for each phase of undergraduate Ayurveda education should be designed, which shall include the component of the curriculum from their respective levels of learning.

The freshers’ induction program shall include a lecture on communication skills, and specific teaching hours can be allotted for the communication module.

Module can comprise of the following contents:

 Preclinical phase:



Sensitization lecture on basics of communication skills.

Role plays:

Communication with teachers, communication with peers, communication with administrative staffs, and ideal communication while Prakriti, Kostha, and Agni pariksha.

 Para clinical phase:



Lecture on importance of communication skill in medical practice, doctor–patient relationship, role/duties of physician, and rights of the patient.

Role plays:

Communication with paramedical staff, communication with community, and ideal communication with community in regard to Dincharya, Ritucharya, and appropriate use of common herbs for minor illness.

 Clinical phase:



Lecture on importance of consent, discussion on topics such as breaking bad news, sympathy, and empathy.

Role plays:

Communication with patient, communication with health team, history taking, counseling the patient and his/her relatives.

The role plays can be performed by group of students portraying ideal and deviant picture.

Along with lecture and role plays, the teaching methods used are group discussions, hospital visits, community visit, and self-directed learning. Audio/video clips, prerecordings of ideal communication in hospital and community setting, sharing of clinical experiences by senior, midlevel, and young physicians are the tools for teaching communication skills.

Assessment:

The students can be given small assignments and projects and can be assessed through continuous internal assessment or Objective structured clinical examination with validated checklist.

Incorporation of a curriculum module in Ayurveda undergraduate education will not only enhance doctor–patient relationship and clinical competence, but also help in augmenting the communication with peers, teachers, paramedical staff, experts in the field of Ayurveda, other health professionals, regulatory bodies, pharma industries, and the general public, facilitating in accomplishment of professionalism.

Communication skill is that fine art which will act as an ornament to a knowledgeable and skilled Ayurveda professional.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1World Health Organization. Benchmarks for training in Ayurveda: Benchmarks for training in traditional/complementary and alternative medicine. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2010. ISBN 978 92 4 1599627.
2Batalden P, Leach D, Swing S, Dreyfus H, Dreyfus S. General competencies and accreditation in graduate medical education. Health Aff (Millwood) 2002;21:103-11.
3Attitude, Ethics and Communication (AETCOM) Competencies for the Indian Medical Graduate. New Delhi, India: Medical Council of India; 2018. Availablefrom: https://www.mciindia.org/CMS/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/AETCOM_book.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 20].