Objectives: This study aimed at exploring the relationship of students' attitudes towards learning communication skills to demographic variables, metacognitive skills, and to the appreciation of patient-oriented care.
Methods: The cross-sectional survey study involved first- and third-term students from two traditional and two problem-based curricula (N= 351). Demographic variables, attitudes towards communication skills learning, patient orientation, and awareness of learning strategies were assessed. Differences in attitude measures were assessed with t-tests and univariate comparisons. With multiple linear regressions predictor variables of students' attitudes towards communication skills learning and patient-oriented care were identified.
Results: A positive attitude towards learning communica-tion skills was predicted by a caring patient orientation, self-regulation of learning strategies, and female gender (R2= 0.23; F (9,310) = 9.72; p < 0.001). Students' caring patient orientation was predicted by their attitudes towards learning communication skills, female gender, and higher age (R2= 0.23; F (9,307) = 13.48; p < 0.001). Students from a traditional curriculum were least interested in learning communication skills (F (3, 346) = 26.75; p <0.001).
Conclusions: Students' attitudes towards learning communication skills and their caring patient orientation are interrelated. However, communication skills are considered as more positive by students with good self-regulatory skills. Early training of self-regulation and the training of communication skills in mixed-gender groups are recommended.
2012. Vol. 3, 201-208 p.