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Table 6 Students' responses to being asked to describe ways in which role-play can be unhelpful

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

Role-play – "acting"
   "Was not real hence some emotions were over acted, would not have been the same had it been done for real"
   "Have to concentrate on acting – this can detract from thinking about what you are doing"
   "Hard to get into role as patient and interviewer because they were unreal situations and I know the people in my group"
Lack of clarity in instructions/task
   "Sometimes structure is poor (haven't been told enough about what to do)"
No opportunity for transfer of skills
   "Can't relate to experiences learnt during role-play when communicating in real situations"
Unsuitable environment
   "Too many students in one place so it was noisy and hard to concentrate"
Lack of realism
   "I find it difficult to show empathy in these situations as the complaints are not genuine."
   "You can never take it seriously as you know the people you're interviewing and so the way you act is not representative of how you would with a real patient."
"When you are being observed, you behave differently..."
   "It is unrealistic as the person you're talking to doesn't have a real illness, so they will react differently to real patients"
Uncertainty of the quality of feedback
   "I was unsure if the advice given by my peers was the same advice a lecturer or doctor would give, so I was unsure if their advice was reliable."