National train-the-trainer certificate programme for improving healthcare communication in Austria
- In Austria, a national programme for improving healthcare communication was piloted.
- Large-scale communication skills programmes can be guided by a structured approach.
- The train-the-trainer approach used effectively improved participants’ skills.
- Quality standards will guarantee high quality and consistency of the programme.
- Lessons learned can contribute to others interested in implementing such programmes.
In Austria a national train-the-trainer programme (TTT) has been developed, implemented and evaluated with the aim of training and certifying participants for developing, implementing and delivering communication skills training (CST) for health professionals.
The programme included 5 in-person courses, application homework with feedback, peer work, and regular trainer network meetings. Global satisfaction with training and changes in self-efficacy among TTT-participants and their learners in the CST delivered as practice projects were evaluated.
18 participants have graduated from the TTT-pilot. 98 people took part in the 9 CST delivered by TTT-participants. Participants’ satisfaction has been rated very positively both for TTT and CST. At post-programme/post-training, statistically significant improvement was observed in self-efficacy for the TTT-participants and for the CST-participants. Additionally, valuable suggestions for programme/training improvement were identified.
This programme is an important step to sustainably improving CST in Austria. To guarantee high quality and consistency, a set of standards for certification have been developed for TTT and CST.
Implementation of best practices in training trainers and communication skills teaching can be guided by a structured approach. Those wanting to implement similar programmes can benefit from strengths and suggestions for improvement identified in this national project.