Mastery Learning of Clinical Communication Skills

  • Julia H. VermylenEmail author
  • Gordon J. Wood
Part of the Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation book series (CHS)


Mastery learning of clinical communication skills is not as well studied as mastery learning of other topics but holds great promise to significantly impact patient and family outcomes, provider well-being, and healthcare resource use. This chapter reviews the current state of evidence for communication skills training in general and mastery learning of communication skills in particular. Unique aspects of mastery learning of communication skills, compared to mastery learning of procedural skills, are highlighted and serve as the foundation for an examination of the key tasks in the design of a mastery learning communication curriculum. Particular attention is paid to creating an assessment tool, choosing a model of deliberate practice, and choosing a model for bringing learners to mastery. The chapter concludes with a consideration of future directions for this relatively new field of mastery learning of clinical communication skills.


Breaking bad news Communication Communication assessment Communication skills training Mastery learning Patient-reported outcome measures Standardized patients 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Departments of Medicine and Medical EducationChicagoUSA

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