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Medical students practising taking blood

Clinical and communication skills

Develop the superior clinical skills, and confident, empathetic approach to delivering care that our graduates are known for.


Becoming an exceptional communicator

You will meet patients on your clinical placements from the first few weeks of the course, so we have designed a curriculum that focuses on the effective clinical and communication skills you will need to become an empathetic and confident practitioner right from the start.

You will follow an integrated approach to learning, which emphasises the relationship between the wide range of skills you use in a consultation, from communicating with patients, clinical reasoning and taking histories to physical and mental state examination.

Medical students and an instructor learning CPR on a SIM man
Medicine student and a GP with a patient at Brough GP Surgery
Dr Anna Hammond


Being able to communicate effectively with your patients is critical to being a good doctor. It impacts your ability to understand their health concerns and the factors that impact this, reach the correct diagnosis and explain treatment plans. From the first few weeks at Hull York Medical School, you will begin to develop your professional communication skills and have the opportunity to practise these when on clinical placement. Clinicians often comment on our graduates’ excellent communication skills, which equip them for work in the busy NHS environment.
Director of Communication Skills Teaching, and GP

Dr Anna Hammond

Medical student practising taking blood pressure
Clinical tutor and medical students

Peer physical examination

Develop examination skills with your peers

You will acquire the skills to perform physical examinations by practising on your fellow students. In peer physical examination, students act as models for each other to learn skills in simple procedures. You learn how to examine and, importantly, what this feels like for patients being examined.

This takes place in a professional atmosphere, in small groups of mixed gender under the supervision of your clinical skills tutor, who is an experienced clinician. You will treat your peers with the same professional courtesy as you would patients.

Simulated patients

Develop consultation skills with simulated patients

In your communications skills sessions, you will interview simulated patients, many of whom are professional actors.

Simulated patients both portray the characteristics of and respond as real patients to help you to learn and develop your consultation skills.

You will observe students in your group undertake consultations in real-time via a video-link. You will learn how to provide detailed, descriptive and non-judgmental feedback, and by observing each other will be able to hone your own consultation skills.

Within our Year 2 clinical skills curriculum you will attend specific sessions to help you to begin to develop your clinical reasoning skills – thinking about the cause for a particular patient’s symptoms.

In Years 3, 4 and 5 this teaching is consolidated by attending communication masterclasses tutored by GP and hospital clinicians.

Medical student with patient a GP surgery, being supervised by a GP
Medical student with simulated patients

Procedural skills

Develop procedural skills at our hospital teaching facilities

In Year 3, you will acquire more complex procedural skills at our dedicated teaching facilities at our hospital placement sites.

You will learn a broad range of skills and techniques, from suturing and taking bloods, to inserting cannulas and catheters, under the expert guidance of dedicated clinical skills tutors.

You will also have the opportunity to practise and revisit your skills multiple times, ensuring you graduate with the confidence and knowledge to hit the ground running as a member of the NHS workforce.

From Year 3, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in simulated scenarios at our hospital teaching facilities with a simulator mannequin. The scenarios simulate a wide range of physiological and neurological symptoms as well as pharmacological responses.

You will have the opportunity both to participate and observe simulated scenarios, providing and learning from group feedback, while putting your clinical, teamwork and communication skills into practice.

Medical student practising opthamology
Practicing taking bloods
Medical student taking notes with a patient
Medical students

Clinical reasoning

Develop clinical reasoning skills

Clinical reasoning is central to every clinician’s work. It is a complex skill, describing the thinking and decision-making processes associated with good clinical practice.

You will develop the skills to be able to gather information from a patient such as through history taking, physical examination, diagnostic tests, reasoning and decision making, to be able to identify the most likely causes for the patient’s symptoms.

From Year 2 onwards, you will start to further develop your clinical reasoning skills, and have specific sessions focused on these. This learning is consolidated by workshops throughout Phase II, which help you develop your clinical reasoning skills.