Hello PLAB candidates!
As part of today’s PLAB focus, we will be looking into the important aspects of clinical communication that examiners look for during the PLAB 2.
Clinical communication is a vital aspect of practice within the NHS and medical schools in the UK put a strong emphasis on it for students under their care.
Here are our 5 Top Tips to ensure your success..
Tip 1: Introductions matter.
If you are interacting with a simulated patient during the PLAB 2; you will be required to behave just as you would with a real patient in an NHS setting. Any time you meet somebody new, what do you begin with? A greeting and introduction right?
During our PLAB 2 online course, we teach the candidates under our care our special approach to introducing themselves and wow-ing the examiner! (You can also learn about our special protocol by downloading our ‘Introductions’ template at the end of this article).
Tip 2: Empathy. Empathy. Empathy.
If you are breaking bad news or dealing with a distressed or upset patient during the PLAB 2 examination, you must be able to appropriately respond with empathy. This means to be able to acknowledge and address how the patient feels while still keeping the interview moving forward. We often find that candidates become uncomfortable in such situations and often ignore a clear cue for empathy. Watch our for empathy cues and address them!
Tip 3: Culturally appropriate.
Remember, you are communicating as you would when you become a doctor in the NHS. That means to use culturally appropriate language, greetings and salutations. It’s best to keep it simple and relaxed here. A friendly ‘hello’ does the trick for most stations or patients; and calling patients by their first name is also acceptable.
Tip 4: Body Language
It is said that the majority of our communication as human beings is non-verbal and we could not agree more. Watch our for your body language during the PLAB 2; we recommend maintaining neutral, professional yet relaxed body language throughout. We call this ‘open’ body language. This facilitates an exchange of information between yourself, your examiner and any simulated patients.
Tip 5: Involve the patient.
If you are involved in a station with a simulated patient, have to explain something to a patient or discuss management, then it is vital that you involve the patient in this dialogue. Pause and ask them if they have any questions, explore their ideas and get them involved in the conversation. We put particular emphasis on this throughout our online PLAB 2 course and make sure that our candidates are perfect at using this technique.