A Symposium was held to improve the assessment of communication competencies in the Swiss Federal Licensing Examination in Human Medicine. The Principal Investigators (C. Klöckner Cronauer & N. Junod Perron – Geneva Medical School; and S. Feller, S. Hautz, K. Schnabel and S. Huwendiek – of Bern Medical School) were awarded a 3 year public funded project to conduct a needs assessment as part of a quality improvement project, and to hold a Symposium of 4 international experts, including Professor Gerry Humphris on the 4th-6th February 2016. The goal of this overall project was to improve the assessment of communications skills in the Swiss federal licensing exam (FLE). The needs assessment concerning how to improve the assessment of communication skills in the FLE was completed and the results presented to the Symposium to steer the further development of the project. The examination concept, in particular regarding communication competencies, raises questions at various points: is there a sufficient alignment between the 21 learning objectives for the role of the communicator, the teaching of communication competencies at all medical schools and the testing of these in the Federal Licensing Exam (FLE) and consequently is there a good alignment of teaching and assessment?
The 5 Medical Schools in Switzerland have all collaborated over the past 6 years and more to assist with the development of the FLE. It is being improved and is an excellent example of long-term joint working to establish a national recognised standard for clinical and communication competencies for doctors in Switzerland.
The Symposium included expert presentations and workshops lasting over 2 days with a final day of team building in the Swiss Alps with a 2 hour long Snowshoe Walk in 1 foot depths of fresh snow! The meeting culminated in a fondue lunch in the Swiss Ski resort Igloo with temperatures of -3 centigrade to accompany the final discussions!