A case study to explore how medical students learn linguistic cognitive skills during preclinical training

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Background: Communicative competences are considered
central aspects of the medical profession but are often
reduced to the physician-patient relationship. Little
attention has been given to teaching the linguistic
cognitive skills. This study was conducted to understand
how medical students learn linguistic cognitive skills
during preclinical training in an integrated curriculum.
Summary of work: Using a case study, we conducted 3 indepth
interviews on 14 undergraduate medical students
during their clinical training asking their experiences on
learning linguistic cognitive skills during their preclinical
training. Inspired by the grounded theory techniques, we
analyzed the qualitative data to develop a framework to
interpret results.
Summary of results: The conceptual framework
generated contained two main constructs: 1) ‘political
strains of integrating the linguistic cognitive skills into the
medical curriculum’, and 2) the effect of ‘nobody knows
what they have until it is gone’.
Discussion: Under the first construct, students
commented there exists some clinical courses considered
fundamental, but some others that promote linguistic
cognitive skills are perceived unimportant. Under the
second construct, students missed the opportunities they
had for learning communicative skills in preclinical training.
Conclusion: This framework describes how medical
students perceive learning of the linguistic cognitive skills
during preclinical training. We believe the theoretical
constructs that emerged from this study will help
curriculum designers to consider the students’ feedback
about how they experience the integration of
communicative competences into the curriculum.
Take-home message: Integrating the linguistic cognitive
skills into the medical curriculum is a political matter.
Curriculum designers should consider how students
perceive the power relationships of the biomedical,
clinical, and social science courses to construct a
successful integrated curriculum.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUniversity of Helsinki
StatePublished - Jul 19 2017


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