CanMeds Communicator



The CanMEDs Communicator Role is felt by some to be the most important after Medical Expert.  It is difficult to fulfill any of the CanMEDs  Roles without an ability to communicate effectively.  In this day and age, where access to medical information is available to all of your patients, one can argue that the Communicator Role supercedes the Role of the Medical Expert.

In order to practice effectively physicians are required to be expert communicators with:

  • patients and their loved ones

  • other members of the health care team

  • other physicians

The Collaborator module in this series focuses on communication and team work with other physicians and our  interprofessional colleagues. In this module we will focus on how we, as physicians, can be better communicators with, and for, our patients. 


Interpreting and explaining medical information has become more important than the ability to attain it.   In Family Medicine, this has become the "norm".  Patients will arrive at the office with the latest information about their disease and the physician must help them interpret and understand the information.   The ability for a physician to translate medical information for patients and then arrive at a shared plan has become a very important skill.




Dan Howes, BSc, MD, FRCPC Associate Professor, Queen’s University



Dr. Howes speaks of the importance of communication with patients. Some people even feel that the communicator role is the most important role in today's health care environment.


What are some reasons that some people feel that the communicator role is more important than the other roles?


Who are some of your role models for good communication in the field of medicine?


Name some other people, outside of medicine, who are known to be good communicators. (these can be real people or fictional characters)


What are the personality traits shared by the good communicators, medical and non-medical, that you listed above?


What aspects, or skills, of communication are unique to our work as physicians?