Clinical Conversations Training Program

Clinical Conversations Training Program

About the Program
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Clinical Conversations Training Program

Clinical Conversations is a program from the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) for training clinicians and other clinical staff who interact with patients about health literacy and related concepts. This program allows clinical trainers or managers to offer brief trainings embedded into regular staff meetings or trainings that they already facilitate as a way to offer continuing education that does not take time out of already busy schedules.

The primary goal of Clinical Conversations is to increase knowledge and awareness of health literacy and associated skills and tools. Clinical Conversations has built in discussion points intended to encourage conversation so participants can learn from one another. The intent of offering Clinical Conversations as part of regular meetings is to convey the importance of these skills and concepts at the institution. To become an expert in the skills presented, there may be a need for further training and practice, so each subject includes a list of additional trainings on that topic. Clinical Conversations provides information for clinical settings but is not intended to provide specific medical advice or to take the place of either the written law or regulations.

Clinical Conversations Subjects

Clinical Conversations is comprised of seven subjects. Each subject contains 3-12 modules. Each module includes PowerPoint slides, printable handouts and e-mail follow ups. All of these materials can be downloaded by selecting the subject from the tabs above. The speaker notes and discussion questions are formatted as though someone is using the Clinical Conversations subjects in the following order:

  1. Health Literacy
  2. Cultural Humility
  3. Social Determinants of Health
  4. Motivational Interviewing
  5. Evidence-Based Practice
  6. Shared Decision Making

Facilitators may choose to deliver only certain subjects or deliver them in a different order. In these instances, a facilitator will likely need to adjust the speaker notes and discussion questions. Areas for potential adjustments are indicated in the speaker notes included in the PowerPoint slides.

Clinical Conversations Discussions

To fit into busy clinical schedules, the informational component of each module should take approximately 10-15 minutes to deliver. To encourage interaction between participants, each module contains discussion points. Discussion can occur in different ways depending on the institution implementing this program.

  1. With only 10-15 minutes for a module, the discussion questions can be presented as takeaways on which participants reflect between meetings, with a few people sharing their thoughts or experiences at the beginning of the next conversation. [The slides are formatted for this option. Recommendations for adjusting to another option are described in the speaker notes].
  2. With more than 15 minutes available for a module, discussion questions can be used at the end of the informational content for facilitated group discussion.
  3. For institutions with an internal LMS system, discussion questions can be loaded into an online discussion board on which participants post their thoughts between meetings.

For institutions with more training time, the modules can be combined into longer trainings. For example, three modules could be combined for a 30 minute informational training by adjusting the placement of the discussion questions and introductory slides. In these instances, the facilitator can decide how they would like to use discussion questions.

Clinical Conversations Evaluation

Clinical Conversations contains three evaluations.

  1. The Clinical Conversations program evaluation is a pre/post tool to evaluate the program as a whole. This can be administered before the first module and after the final module, regardless of which subjects are used.
  2. The subject specific evaluations (linked on each subject page) are pre/post tools to evaluate knowledge gain related module learning objectives. This can be administered before the first module in a certain subject and after the last module in that subject.
  3. The trainer post evaluation looks at outcomes from the individual who taught the Clinical Conversations content. The trainer can complete this after they teach the final module.

NNLM would like to hear about your implementation and evaluation. If you'd like to provide us with your pre and post test results, send your trainer post test and the evaluation results summary forms linked below to Region 1 with the subject line Clinical Conversations evaluations. If you choose to tell us about you revaluation, please don't include any personal identifying information about training participants.

If a facilitator chooses not to deliver all the Clinical Conversations subjects, they will likely need to adjust the Clinical Conversations Program Evaluation.

Clinical Conversations Program Options

Clinical Conversations includes several points of flexibility depending on institution needs. A Clinical Conversations facilitator can choose how to deliver the following:

  1. E-mail follow-ups. There are pre-developed e-mails for a facilitator to send to participants between meetings. The e-mails reinforce module content or provide additional resources. These can be used at the discretion of the facilitator based on what follow up information they think is valuable for their audience.
  2. Fillable notes pages. These are intended to be printed handouts that participants can refer to during in-person training and fill in key points throughout the session. They also include all references used in the modules if participants are interested in the sources of information. If participants want a handout, but do not want to fill in the blanks, a facilitator can pass out the handout answer key instead.
  3. Evaluations. Clinical Conversations has a pre and post evaluation for each subject and evaluations for the program as a whole. The evaluations are designed to be printed and completed on paper. A facilitator is welcome to distribute these evaluations to participants electronically if it is preferred.
  4. Trusted Resources. All of the subjects include reference to at least one resource from the National Library of Medicine. The Health Literacy subject contains two full modules on the NLM resources MedlinePlus and HealthReach. If an institution wishes to offer the Clinical Conversations topics in an order different from the one recommended above, a facilitator can teach the resource modules from the Health Literacy topic with other topics to familiarize participants with the resources referenced. Suggestions about this are provided on the subject pages of this guide.
  5. Facilitator Preparation. Each set of PowerPoint slides contains speaker notes for the trainer/facilitator delivering the Clinical Conversations program. Depending on the background and experience of the trainer, they may need additional preparation before offering Clinical Conversations. Each subject page links to additional resources and suggests NNLM courses that align with Clinical Conversations topics. Facilitators are encouraged to use these resources to prepare for subjects with which they are less familiar.


This training program was originally developed with funding from NNLM Region 1. If you have questions about the program or materials, please contact Erin Seger, Health Professions Coordinator, or contact the Region 1 office.

Health Literacy
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Evaluation & Planning

Suggested NNLM Courses for Facilitator Preparation

CHECK LINK Effective Health Communication and Health Literacy: Understanding the Connection: This introductory class to health literacy and health communication will help you understand and raise your awareness of the complexity of these concepts. We will define health literacy today, identify various types of literacy, explore how communication and health literacy affects how a person manages and makes health care decisions.

CHECK LINK Making Sense of Numbers: Understanding Risks and Benefits. Communicating Numerical Health Information: This class is a basic introduction for anyone who wants to understand how to communicate health information that involves numbers. The purpose of this class is to understand risk and benefits from an individual's perspective and to understand that the communication of numbers must be clear and easy to understand.

CHECK LINK PubMed and Beyond: Clinical Resources from the National Library of Medicine: This presentation introduces free bedside information resources for the busy clinician. Resources presented will include Clinical Queries in PubMed/MEDLINE and free drug, patient education, and point-of-care resources.

CHECK LINK MedlinePlus for Public Librarians: Discover the history, selection criteria and sources of MedlinePlus through this on-demand, hands-on tutorial. Designed to take about an hour to complete, the narrated tutorial explains how to locate information on health topics, drugs, and supplements in, highlighting additional tools and the authoritative sources from which draws its health information.

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Health Literacy

Seven modules that cover the impact of health literacy on physical health and communication skills to address health literacy in a clinical setting. Each module is made up of a PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes, handout, and e-mail follow ups that a facilitator can send to trainees between modules. This subject also includes a pre and post evaluation to assess participants' change in knowledge and a planning guide for a facilitator to organize when they will teach these modules and use the follow up content. Select the links below to download these training materials.

Module 1: Health Literacy Introduction

Module 2: Definitions and Importance

Module 3: Resources for Health Literacy

Module 4: Clear Communication

Module 5: Teach Back

Module 6: Numeracy

Module 7: Health Literacy and Medications