Students in the Yours to Lose – Advanced Medical School Acceptance Program are learning communication skills that will improve their bedside manner.

An oral communications class was launched this spring, tailormade for the future medical students.

“The overall goal of the class is for the students to not only develop their public speaking and overall communication skills, but also for them to learn and use their health communication skills,” says Natalie Grecu, assistant professor of communications. “The rapport between a physician and their patient is a skill they need to know.”

Grecu is the first to teach the new class at Missouri Southern. She says it emphasizes patient-physician interactions, non-verbal communication and how technology can come into play.

With a background in strategic communication, she says she stresses how things like eye contact, using your hands and disposition can have a profound effect in one-on-one interactions. They’re skills that will be especially important to have as the students become physicians.

“We also cover communicating bad news or end-of-life issues with patients,” Grecu says. “It’s tough, but so important.”