Background and aims: The quality of nurse-patient communication has significant effects on patient care outcomes. Therefore, education of communication skills (CSs) to nurses and nursing students can improve patient care outcomes. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of face-to-face education (FTFE) and virtual education (VE) on CSs among nursing students.
Methods: This quasi-experimental study was conducted in 2021. Participants were 51 senior nursing students in their internship course in Shahrekord Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahrekord, Iran. They were recruited to the study through a census and were allocated to FTFE and VE groups through the Random Allocation Software. FTFE was provided in two sessions through the lecture and the question and answer methods, while VE was provided in a single online session through simulated multimedia content. Participants’ CSs were assessed before and ten days after the study intervention through a 50-minute Objective Structured Clinical Examination with five consecutive stations on communication with elderly patient, communication with adolescent patient, communication with aggressive patient, communication with illiterate or non-communicative patient, and communication for consent. Data were analyzed using the SPSS software (v. 23.0) and through the independent sample t, paired-sample t, and chi-square tests and the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA).
Results: The posttest mean scores of CSs in both groups were significantly greater than their corresponding pretest values (P<0.05). However, there were no significant differences between the groups respecting the pretest and the posttest mean scores of CSs. The pretest mean score of the communication with elderly patient skill and the posttest mean score of the communication with aggressive patient skill had significant relationship with participants’ place of residence and gender, respectively (P<0.05).
Conclusion: VE is as effective as FTFE in significantly improving nursing students’ CSs. Therefore, quality VE programs are recommended to fulfill the different educational needs of nursing students.