A case study to explore how medical students learn linguistic cognitive skills during preclinical training
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Background: Communicative competences are consideredcentral aspects of the medical profession but are oftenreduced to the physician-patient relationship. Littleattention has been given to teaching the linguisticcognitive skills. This study was conducted to understandhow medical students learn linguistic cognitive skillsduring preclinical training in an integrated curriculum.Summary of work: Using a case study, we conducted 3 indepthinterviews on 14 undergraduate medical studentsduring their clinical training asking their experiences onlearning linguistic cognitive skills during their preclinicaltraining. Inspired by the grounded theory techniques, weanalyzed the qualitative data to develop a framework tointerpret results.Summary of results: The conceptual frameworkgenerated contained two main constructs: 1) ‘politicalstrains of integrating the linguistic cognitive skills into themedical curriculum’, and 2) the effect of ‘nobody knowswhat they have until it is gone’.Discussion: Under the first construct, studentscommented there exists some clinical courses consideredfundamental, but some others that promote linguisticcognitive skills are perceived unimportant. Under thesecond construct, students missed the opportunities theyhad for learning communicative skills in preclinical training.Conclusion: This framework describes how medicalstudents perceive learning of the linguistic cognitive skillsduring preclinical training. We believe the theoreticalconstructs that emerged from this study will helpcurriculum designers to consider the students’ feedbackabout how they experience the integration ofcommunicative competences into the curriculum.Take-home message: Integrating the linguistic cognitiveskills into the medical curriculum is a political matter.Curriculum designers should consider how studentsperceive the power relationships of the biomedical,clinical, and social science courses to construct asuccessful integrated curriculum.