Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Leadership and Communications Skills 1 for Dental Hygienists

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION Part A: Interpersonal Communication Skills (1st Semester)

The medical leadership seminars are founded on the recognition that in today’s world doctors are faced with the challenge of engaging with complex, multi-tiered systems and working under an increasing amount of pressure. With this in mind, this series of seminars are aimed at supporting the emerging student-doctor and providing more of the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary in the personal and professional formation of a doctor who can address the best health gains for his/her patients and guarantee an increasing level of patient satisfaction.

There is a growing acknowledgement that doctors need to develop leadership and management competences to become more actively involved in the planning, delivery and transformation of patient services..

This leadership training program for medical students is aimed at teaching effective leadership and will draw upon students’ values, strengths and abilities to deliver high standards of care. Teaching will focus on:

• Self-awareness: values, principles, assumptions and learning from experiences through self-reflection encouraging personal growth;
• Self-management: organising self while taking account of the needs and priorities of others;
• Self-development: learning through participation, receiving feedback and continuing professional development;
• Acting with integrity: behaving in an open and ethical manner.

Effective leadership training will encourage the medical student to develop networks, build and maintain relationships, and encourage contribution of ideas.

Medical students will receive guidance and training about becoming effective leaders in the clinical setting and in the community. Research across several disciplines demonstrates that communication skills are one of the key skill areas that a leader needs to develop. This seminar focuses on learning skills for more effective communication and experiencing the practice of skills which fine tune professional communication as well as giving and receiving feedback.

The method of learning and training is experiential and for this reason the course will be residential.

Part B: Teamwork (2nd Semester)

Doctors work in teams constantly and in several different teams. All doctors need to be functioning team members and many develop and show effective leadership by working with others in teams and networks to deliver and improve services. The doctor’s profession is not only to attend to patients but also to develop networks by working in partnership with colleagues within and across systems. Belonging to a team is not enough; one must be effective by engaging in building and maintaining relationships with other members. This incorporates the ability to listen, support others, develop and gain trust and show understanding. A good team member contributes by creating an environment where others have the opportunity to contribute as well.

Part of your future work as medical practitioners will include working in multidisciplinary teams with professionals having similar or diverse areas of expertise. A crucial component in providing quality care involves the ability to work with others, as a medical leader or member of a team, sharing leadership as necessary, with the aim of setting direction and managing change. Prior to such work, students will need to obtain an understanding of group processes. They will need to have an understanding of what is needed for teams and groups to work effectively.

This includes having an awareness of the diverse roles people have within a group; being aware of, and having practice in, leadership styles, with particular reference to leadership in various settings and under different conditions or pressures; understanding the dynamics between and within groups; and being able to reflect on what makes successful teams and why.

The aim of the study-unit is to sensitise the students to these issues, and to teach them the relevant skills that will enable them to work effectively in a group and within a team. The method of learning is experiential, and for this reason, the course will be residential and will be held off campus.

Topics to be covered:

Group Dynamics;
Psychological roles within a group;
Group Leadership;
Principles of Teamwork and Conflict Management;
Team building exercises.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of this study-unit is to sensitize the students to these issues, and to teach them the relevant skills that will enable them to be effective through communication, in a group, and within a team.

The study-unit is also intended to benefit the students on a personal level by providing them with the opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of interpersonal communication;
- Comprehend the principles of teamwork and group dynamics.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Practice the skills of effective communication, including the provision of empathy, feedback and assertiveness when required;
- Practice the skills of effective teamwork and conflict management;
- Practice the skills of self reflection and reflection on what is occurring in the environment around oneself, leading to ongoing personal growth.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Communication Skills for Medicine, Lloyd Margaret, Bor Robert, Blanche Geraldine, 2009, Churchill Livingstone.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Qualifications: Entry to the Bachelor's Degree in Dental Hygiene

Please note that a pass in each component is obligatory for an overall pass mark to be awarded.

Students will be allowed to resit the Assignment component in the September Exam Session if they pass the Competencies component of the respective section.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Competencies A [See Add. Notes] SEM1 No 25%
Competencies B [See Add. Notes] SEM2 No 25%
Assignment A [See Add. Notes] SEM1 Yes 25%
Assignment B [See Add. Notes] SEM2 Yes 25%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.