Effective listening and communication skills MED5461

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

With a focus on experiential learning and student led study, this course outlines the role of counselling skills to promote client-centred, informed, respectful and ethically-mindful encounters. The focus will be on the skills and theory supporting genetic counselling, developing key person-centred listening and communication skills and establish reflective practice.


5 taught sessions during semester 2.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Recorded sessions (40%)

Three short one-to-one skills session with peers will be recorded. Students will use checklists to provide feedback to other students on the three sessions. The checklists will relate to the ILOs, to assess development of competence within the skill practices. Tutors will give feedback on two sessions. All three sessions will be graded, the grade for the best performance is the grade that will be used formally.


Reflective journal (60%)

Students will be required to complete a reflective journal identifying the learning arising from their skills practices, assigned readings, activities, exercises. This will include their observations of own and others live practice sessions. Students will be provided with a list of criteria for the portfolio, which require to be demonstrated. The theoretical basis and the reflective learning arising from the interventions developed within skills practices will be identified and outlined. A word limit of 2500 will be allocated for this task.


The recorded sessions will be stored in accordance with current DPA requirements to allow for external examiner sampling should that be required.

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to support students to:

■ Develop an understanding of different counselling theories with emphasis on the person-centred approach.

■ Provide practical skills training in person-centred listening, attending and communication skills.

■ Recognise the supportive role counselling skills can play in facilitating client's adjustment and engagement in noncoercive ways 

■ Establish an environment, which facilitates clients to express feelings, anxieties, beliefs, expectations through maintaining focus on each client's experience.

■ Understand safe practice, ethical conduct and professional boundaries, and onward referral as appropriate.

■ Understand and be able to develop reflective practice when critiquing counselling skills sessions.

■ Understand role in attending to client expectations, perceptions, knowledge and concerns to mutually agree patient-centred agenda or care partnerships which involve the client's family, or care providers.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Critically evaluate and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a range of counselling theories

■ With critical reference to the literature and practice sessions, select and explain use of appropriate counselling skills and reflect on their application to practice.

■ Apply in the appropriate context, a knowledge of person-centred theory, active listening skills and communication skills

■ Demonstrate critically reflective practice, informing  learning for future clinical interactions, recognising the value of contracting and professional boundaries

■ Critically discuss the key roles of clinical supervision, debriefing and self-care within a counselling environment

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.