Pre-Reg Oriel Pharmacy SJT Guide: Communication Skills Questions

Advice & Insight From Pre-Registration Recruitment Exam Specialists

The second set of attributes in the Foundation Trainee Pharmacist Professional Attributes Framework covers Communication Skills and Consultation Skills – here we focus on communication skills. There is a considerable overlap between the two areas, but we can break down questions into general communication and consultation respectively. 

Pre-Reg Oriel Pharmacy SJT Guide: An Overview of Questions

Communication skills will feature in many questions to a greater or lesser extent, as they impact the way that you deal with others. However, some questions will focus entirely on your ability to communicate. These questions might see you having to deal with an angry relative, speak to a colleague in distress, or calm down a colleague who’s become irritated. Your communication skills might be tested through having to investigate why a colleague is failing to take part in a project, or why they have repeatedly been late for work. 

Pre-Reg Oriel Pharmacy SJT Guide: Example Question & Process

A typical question could see you having to deal with a superior who speaks down to you and other juniors on your team. They might use insulting language, or simply be curt and aggressive in their manner of speaking. As such, you need to find the best way of approaching them and the situation. Typically, you will have at least one option that allows you to explore and discuss in private, which will be the best starting option – it shows an ability to communicate directly and appropriately. You will often find an option that allows you to discuss communication woes appropriately with a senior figure – e.g. if a colleague is in distress, you could speak to your pre-reg tutor without explaining who the colleague is, to find out what to do next. This is a suitable option that shows you are willing to communicate with others. Options that allow you to speak to groups of others should be viewed with suspicion – make sure to avoid gossiping, and only discuss a situation with others if they are clearly involved in it and discussing it with them will improve the situation. In this particular example, becoming angry or irritated is clearly always to be avoided, as is any form of communication where you might reduce yourself to the senior’s level. If a situation escalates beyond your ability to communicate, you should recognise this – here, if the senior becomes angier it is suitable to excuse yourself and seek help from your tutor, for example. 

Pre-Reg Oriel Pharmacy SJT Guide: Specific Attributes Explored

2.1 Adapts approach, language or communication style for audience and across a variety of contexts

Ensure that your communication is appropriate for whom you’re speaking to – typically, that means avoiding jargon or language that a layperson cannot understand, and being aware of when others are making this mistake.

2.2 Identifies and interprets non-verbal cues from others

For example, this would mean that noticing someone is distressed – in a prompt someone might look downcast, fail to make eye contact, show signs of tiredness or stress.

2.3 Effectively uses non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication can include allowing pauses in which someone else can gather and reflect, or providing tissues for someone who is upset. Rarely, this can be one of the correct options in a group of three, although it’s unlikely to feature.

2.7 Instils confidence in others through communication style

Ensure that you are clear and confident. This would be evident in a question.

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2.8 Effectively builds rapport with individuals; asks open questions and facilitates a two-way dialogue

This is vital. The use of open questions may well feature as an option, and should point you immediately to it being correct. Ensure that you listen to others and take their feedback and responses onboard.

2.11 Exhibits suitable levels of confidence and assertiveness when communicating; able to influence appropriately

This is less relevant than other parts of the domain for the purposes of the SJT as it’s hard to demonstrate through a question and answer. However, it might involve not backing down when someone else is trying to force an incorrect viewpoint, for example, but instead politely and professionally maintaining what the correct path is.

2.12 Ensures has the relevant information before communicating

This is relevant when communicating with both patients and colleagues. In terms of the SJT, you should look out for options that allow you to gather more information – those that involve you speaking to someone politely, checking notes, or speaking to a particular healthcare professional who is responsible for a case.

Pre-Reg Oriel Pharmacy SJT Guide: Communication Skills Questions

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