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Table 5 Students' responses to being asked to describe ways in which role-play can be helpful

From: Role-play for medical students learning about communication: Guidelines for maximising benefits

Preparation
   "The most important thing was the in-built preparation"
Rehearsal
   "It enabled me to use my skills directly and assess their effects on other people..."
   "First hand experience – to understand the difficulties in communication which are hard to get without actually doing it"
   "It helped understand, what sort of questions provided the best responses"
   "Enabled me to use my communication skills in a way much more relevant to the way in which I will need them in real consultations. Also, the role plays each included a psychosocial aspect which was useful to practice eliciting."
   "It highlighted the importance of 'probing' in order to get information out of patients"
   "It also made me realise how difficult it can be to keep an interview flowing – I'll definitely need more experience!"
   "Good chance to try out something that looks so easy but makes you realise that it is difficult and does require practice."
Feedback
   "It's good to receive constructive criticism and be made aware of your behaviour"
   "Group discussion afterwards (as well as individual feedback) allowing us to learn from other people's experiences too."
Different perspectives
   "Positive to see things from a patient's perspective"
   "Got to experience how the patient feels as well as observing the interview, to get a more well rounded picture of a consultation."
   "In playing the role of the patient, as well as the medical student, it enabled us to understand the patient's point of view."
Safety using role-play
   "It puts you in a real-life situation where you can practice what you know but still it is a role-play so if you make mistakes it is okay"
Other professional skills
   "Good method of learning and helping people feel less nervous talking in front of others."
   "Highlighted aspects of non-verbal communication"