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An important aspect of clinical care is communication with patients. Health care provider’s major communication tasks are not only to inform patients about their disease and treatment, but also to create a therapeutic effective relationship by assessing patients’ concerns, showing understanding, empathy, and providing comfort and support [1,2].

Since 2009, The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Programme has been running a training on communication skills and emotional competence using the iCARE-Haaland model[3]. The training is aimed at strengthening providers’ skills to recognize and manage their own and patients’ emotions and build on this foundation to communicate with awareness and respect for patients and colleagues. The iCARE model is founded on evidence-based approaches to teaching effective communication skills. These includes guided self-reflection to discover one’s own communication behaviors and their effects on oneself, colleagues, and patients; experiential learning workshops linked to real life work situations; and building on a process learning during daily normal work over 6 to 9 months.

In January 2022, a 3-day skills workshop was held for 32 new-born care staff in Machakos and Kerugoya.

The workshops brought together providers working in newborn units, post-natal and antenatal wards, maternity, and MCH clinics. Participants had a wonderful graduation after 7 months of process learning through self-observation and reflection on their communication habits and effects on patients and colleagues. Participants were extremely positive about the course, with many emphasizing its direct relevance and applicability to their daily work. The majority of the participants also reported role modelling good communication behaviors to their colleagues. However, they expressed facing some challenges such as being critiqued by some colleagues when practicing the learnt skills.

  1. Morrison P. & Burnard P. (1997) Caring and communicating: The Interpersonal Relationship in Nursing. MacMillan, Basingstoke
  2. Maguire, P Pitceathly, C (2002): Key communication skills and how to acquire them. BMJ 325:697-700. (28. September)

*This article is written by Peris Musitia and Mwanamvua Boga and first published in the CIN February 2022 bulletin. Read the more articles and updates from this bulletin –

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