Background: In India, the coverage of immunization is low due to low morale and lack of information. Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children or do not comply with the immunization schedule of their children may not get comprehensive information on immunization. It can be termed as the failure of patient care on the part of the doctors. In present medical education curriculum, little emphasis is given on teaching counseling skills to students who have very few opportunities to learn the things that impact doctor–patient relationship.
Objective: To evaluate the effect of counseling skills training on immunization to third-year medical students.
Materials and Methods: This study was conducted during August 2013 to December 2013 on 38 third-year medical students. Immunization counseling skills of the students were assessed before and after the training by the observers and standardized patients according to the close-ended structured questionnaire.
Result: The observers and standardized patients noted that due to counseling skills training more students were developing rapport with patients, were making them feel comfortable, and there was information sharing (p < 0.001). After training more number of students were listening to mothers, not interrupting them, encouraging them in decision-making, and giving follow-up advice on immunization (p < 0.01). The students’ feedback showed that there was need of learning counseling skills training and role play was an effective learning method that had boosted their confidence in counseling.
Conclusion: Effective counseling skills of medical students are necessary for their professional development, better doctor–patient relationship, and increase in knowledge of parents about immunization leading to increased immunization coverage.
Immunization, counseling skills, doctor–patient relationship