Explore Health Communication Courses

Healthcare professionals have to regularly communicate with patients, family members and colleagues. Communication is a skill set that may be overlooked by those who are new to the field, but it is a crucial aspect of many roles. 

Taking a health communication course is one way to improve your ability to communicate effectively within healthcare settings. In this guide, we cover what to expect from a short course in health communication. 

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Harvard University Global Health Delivery Short Course

Join a network of leaders as you learn to leverage innovative approaches to global health delivery.

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George Washington University Healthcare Management Short Course

Learn to plan strategically and respond to changing medical environments in the Healthcare Management online short course.

  • Led by thought leaders
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Stanford Center for Health Education Nutrition Science Short Course

Unpack the various debates surrounding nutrition in order to learn the fundamentals of a good diet.

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  • 8 weeks, Entirely Online

University of Cape Town Occupational Health and Safety Short Course

Gain the skills to effectively conduct risk assessments, and manage hazards and incidents in your company.

  • 10 weeks, Entirely Online
  • 7- 10 hours per week of self-paced learning online

Why Is Health Communication Important?

Why is communication important to healthcare professionals? Communication in the healthcare sector includes delivering a wide range of information. You may be called upon to give a patient an unfortunate diagnosis, describe complicated medical procedures or educate patients about a specific health issue. The types of situations you’re likely to encounter depend on your role—for example, a nurse may spend more time communicating directly with patients whereas a healthcare administrator may primarily communicate with other professionals.

To effectively impart information, build rapport and foster open communication, it’s important to thoughtfully approach each interaction.

Types of Health Communication

There are multiple types of health communication that healthcare professionals may use within their day-to-day work. One of the most crucial is the communication among providers, patients and families. These interactions center on the delivery of health-related information between a healthcare professional and patients, family or caregivers. This type of situation relies on building rapport and developing trust.

Other types of health communication include health promotion and healthcare intervention. Health promotion refers to promoting healthy behaviors and elevating health topics to a larger audience. Similarly, healthcare intervention refers to the practice of addressing specific health concerns through education and motivation.

What Is a Health Communication Short Course?

Health communication short courses offer a quick and effective way to elevate your health communication skills. Unlike degree programs, short courses can usually be completed in a few weeks or months. Short courses are typically conducted online and are intended for working professionals who have busy schedules. These courses generally do not offer college credit, but they may provide a certificate of completion that can be included on a resume or LinkedIn profile.

Health communication short courses are designed for many types of healthcare professionals. This includes everyone from healthcare administrators and executives to medical providers such as doctors, nurses, clinicians and even pharmacists. Those working in public relations or marketing within a healthcare organization may also benefit from the skills covered in a health communication online course. 

Health Communication Course Admissions Requirements

Health communication online courses vary greatly in their structure and admissions requirements. In general, though, short courses tend to be flexible in terms of admissions requirements. Many do not have specific education requirements but may recommend that students have a background working in healthcare. Other courses, such as those focusing on foundational skills, are appropriate for beginner health professionals. 

Certain health communication courses offered through colleges and universities may have more complex requirements. This could include being enrolled in a specific degree program or having completed a bachelor’s degree prior to enrolling. Be sure to thoroughly review the admissions requirements of any online courses you might be interested in.

Health Communication Course Curriculum

Health communication courses are usually completed on a self-paced schedule, with the course material broken into different weeks or modules. The curriculum of a health communication course will vary based on the subject matter being covered. However, here are some examples of topics you may encounter in a health communications course:

  • Tactics for improving oral, written and nonverbal communication within the healthcare field.
  • How to build trust with patients, colleagues and the public. 
  • How misinformation spreads and what health professionals can do to disseminate accurate information.
  • Strategies for presenting medical and scientific information to a variety of audiences.
  • How to navigate challenging topics and match your communication style to the situation.

Is a Course in Health Communication Right for Me?

Deciding to take a health communication course is an individual choice based on one’s personal interests and career goals. Some people take short courses to gain valuable skills that may help them take their careers to the next level. Others may rely on these courses for improving their communication skills within their current role. 

If you are a current or aspiring healthcare professional looking to grow your skill set, you may want to consider a health communication short course. Health communication courses are designed to help a wide range of professionals—from administrators to consultants to clinicians—improve their communication techniques. Whether you’re interacting with patients, colleagues or the media, the topics covered in a health communication short course may help you more effectively speak about health and science information. 

Health Communication FAQs

Health communication courses are intended to help healthcare professionals polish their current skills and learn powerful new communication strategies. Before you decide to enroll in a health communication course, it’s important to know what to expect. Some common questions about these courses are covered below.

What is the importance of health communication?

Health communication provides people with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health and quality of life. Communication skills may be used by health professionals to raise awareness for specific health issues and influence behaviors. On a more personal level, healthcare providers rely on effective communication when speaking with patients about medical results or upcoming procedures.

How long does it take to complete a health communication course?

The duration of a health communication online course depends on the subject matter and the organization administering the course. However, many health communication short courses may be completed in about four to six weeks. The hours of study required each week vary from course to course, but most operate on a self-paced schedule, allowing you to move through the course material as time allows. 

How can health communication courses benefit my career?

Health communication courses may help you to become a better communicator by teaching you the foundational skills necessary for clear and concise communication. They may also help you manage difficult conversations with patients, colleagues and the general public. After you complete a health communication course, you will typically receive a certificate of completion that may be shared with your network and employer. This designation may help you stand out from your peers.

Last updated in February 2022

Sponsored

Explore Public Health Online Short Courses

Harvard University Global Health Delivery Short Course

Join a network of leaders as you learn to leverage innovative approaches to global health delivery.

  • Flexible Structure
  • 10 weeks, Entirely Online

George Washington University Healthcare Management Short Course

Learn to plan strategically and respond to changing medical environments in the Healthcare Management online short course.

  • Led by thought leaders
  • 8 week online short course

Stanford Center for Health Education Nutrition Science Short Course

Unpack the various debates surrounding nutrition in order to learn the fundamentals of a good diet.

  • Flexible learning with personalized support
  • 8 weeks, Entirely Online

University of Cape Town Occupational Health and Safety Short Course

Gain the skills to effectively conduct risk assessments, and manage hazards and incidents in your company.

  • 10 weeks, Entirely Online
  • 7- 10 hours per week of self-paced learning online