MS-1: Introduction to Medical Interviewing

August 22, 2022-October 11, 2022
7 half days

Course Director
Brianna Rossiter, MD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Medicine
Department of Medicine

Course Director
Beth Bollinger, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to provide a life-like learning environment in which medical students will be able to develop and practice effective medical interviewing skills.

The goals of the course are that students will observe and practice:

  1. Setting a stage and establishing rapport conducive to conducting an interview.
  2. Introducing self to patient in an appropriate and respectful manner.
  3. Using open-ended questions, listening and facilitating responses which encourage and clarify the patient’s story.
  4. Using appropriate questioning techniques, moving from open- to closed-ended.
  5. Eliciting a systematic history of the onset and course of a chief complaint.
  6. Using empathy to encourage, support, and accurately understand the patient’s feelings.
  7. Perceiving and correctly interpreting the patient’s verbal and nonverbal cues.
  8. Summarizing and soliciting the patient’s feedback regarding completeness and accuracy of information.
  9. Using alternative approaches for data gathering when an interview is difficult.
  10. Using verbal transitions to move from one area of inquiry to another.

Additional goals are that by the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the significance of the medial interview as a basic clinical skill.
  2. List the basic ingredients of a complete medical history.
  3. Observe, identify and correctly label the basic skills of a clinical interview.
  4. Determine the patient’s concerns, beliefs, reasons for seeking medical care communicated during a medical interview.
  5. Recognize how the interviewer’s own beliefs, feelings, prejudices and preconceptions may result in lack of objectivity and misinterpretation in the medical interview.

Educational Methods

  • Standardized patients
  • Small-group discussion sessions
  • Interview skills development


Evaluation for this course is based on small-group learner skills, interviewing skills, and knowledge of content presented in the syllabus.

Grading: Students are required to pass this course to pass the Introduction to Patient Care Block, Section 1. Grading for the block is Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

Faculty Note

Course Director Reed W. Van Deusen, MD, is a recipient of the Excellence in Education Award for Small Group Facilitator. Donald Middleton, MD, is a recipient of the Kenneth E. Schuit Master Educator Award, the Sheldon Adler Award for Innovation in Medical Education, and the Excellence in Education Award for Small Group Facilitator. Gregory Bump, MD; James Dewar, MD; Stephanie Dewar, MD; Evelyn Reis, MD; Beth Bollinger, MD; and Margaret Watt-Morse, MD, are recipients of the William I. Cohen Award for Excellence in Clinical Skills Instruction. Dr. Reis and Jason Rosenstock, MD, are recipients of the Kenneth E. Schuit Master Educator Award. In addition, Drs. Bump, S. Dewar, Middleton, Reis, Rosenstock, and Van Deusen are members of the UPSOM Academy of Master Educators.