Release date: April 2016

We offer different pathways through our courses, so the percentage shown may be incomplete even though you have received your certificate.

The Communication Skills online resource is a self-directed resource covering communication skills and frameworks to help you work through everyday conversations you will have as a physician.


Tags: Category 1 Educational activities Key communication skills Active listening Listening Body Language Emotions Psychosocial Speaking Talking Handover Breaking bad news Adverse event Non-verbal communication Social skills Language Health literacy Communication frameworks ISBAR Mnemonic Patient transfer Discharge Emergency Multidisciplinary teams NURSE Respect Support Empathy SPIKES Consultation Gathering information Patient cues Ask tell ask Tell me more Questioning Conversation Providing information Disclosure Conflict Difficult patients Aggressive Angry Fearful Defensive Resentment De-escalate De-escalation Discussion Interpreter Interpretation

Learning outcomes

• Outline the steps needed to prepare for a communication task.
• Discuss the importance of active listening and non verbal communication.
• Apply the SPIKES and NURSE frameworks for discussing serious news and responding to emotion to your own practice.
• Discuss key considerations when providing information to a patient or family, including the use of appropriate language.
• Apply the ISBAR framework to your own setting.


Video scenarios

• Part 1 – Handover
• Part 2 – Discussing serious news
• Part 3 – The adverse event
• Part 4 – Referral to palliative care

Skills toolbox

• Key communication skills – active listening, non-verbal communication
• Communication frameworks – ISBAR, NURSE, SPIKES
• Gathering information – patient cues, approaches to questioning
• Providing information – managing challenging interactions with patients, use of interpreters

Authors: Dr Robyn Thomas FRACGP FAChPM
Dr Karen Detering FRACP
Dr Sadie Dunn FRACP FAChPM MPallcare
Dr Katrina Gibson
Dr Beres Joyner FRACGP FAFPHM MMedHum
Dr Laverne Lok FRACP MPH
Dr Megan Phelps FRACP MMedEd
Dr Ranjana Srivastava FRACP
Dr Raj Tota FRACP
Peer reviewers: Dr Josephine Clayton FRACP FAChPM
Dr Ian Kennedy FRACP
Dr Joseph Lee FRACP
Dr David Lester-Smith FRACP
Dr Sarah Thompson FAChPM
Version: 1
Release Date: April, 2016 Revised Date: N/A
Skills  Frameworks  Adverse events ISBAR  NURSE  SPIKES