Using theory to improve communication

Jennifer Cleland, Jill Francis, Margaret Watson, Jackie Inch, Christine Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To design (i) a theory-based communication skills training package for medicine counter assistants (MCAs) and (ii) a method of evaluating its effect on consultation behaviours.

Method: Thirty MCAs from 20 community pharmacies in Grampian, Scotland were recruited and randomised to the intervention (n = 20) and control (n = 10) groups. The intervention comprised 2 x 4 h of interactive learning sessions. The content of the sessions was based on a model of teaching and learning communication skills, while the teaching and learning techniques used in the sessions were based on active learning and cognitive-behavioural principles. Training focused on information-gathering and information-giving skills. The Theory of Planned Behaviour was used to develop a questionnaire to explore the effect of communication skills training.

Key findings: The results of the full study are reported elsewhere but, in summary, some improvements in communication were seen in the intervention group in terms of the number of questions asked, although no improvement was shown with the use of open questions.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that using theory to underpin training might well allow the mapping of specific mediators of behaviour change onto intervention components, which in turn provides information on which aspects of training might be successful. Thus, using theory as a basis for interventions may increase the effectiveness of future interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-81
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • pharmacy staff
  • behavior theory
  • communication skill
  • community care
  • health care delivery
  • pharmaceutical care


Dive into the research topics of 'Using theory to improve communication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this