Communication skills in pharmacy education and practice are increasingly regarded as a crucial component. However, thus far, estimating of the overall communication skills training (CST) effects in a variety of outcomes is lacking. The aim of this study was to synthesize the effects of CST in pharmacy education by performing a meta-analysis of CST studies. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, ERIC, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Communication and Mass Media Complete (CMMC), key journals, and bibliographic databases. The effect sizes (ESs) were extracted and pooled in random effects meta-analyses. We assessed the quality of the study using the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument (MERSQI). From 34,737 articles, 9 studies were included in this meta-analysis. The overall effect size for CST was 0.611 (95% CI 0.327–0.895), and it was statistically significant (p = 0.000). We found based on the subgroup analyses that CST has a large effect size when it used stand-alone courses, lecture-lab based courses, video recordings, feedback, training for 2 or more semesters, hours per week ≥5 h and external assessments. For the CST effect, the effect sizes were ranked in order of confidence, knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The result of the meta-regression is that the total number of attendees is significantly negatively correlated with the effect sizes of the CST. The findings of the present meta-analysis provide evidence that CST in pharmacy education may act as an efficient way to improve the communication competency of students, and it may serve as a guide for pharmacy educators.
- Communication skills training
- Pharmacist-patient communication
- Pharmacy education