Clinical Skills Assessment Program

Since the mid-1960s, simulated patients (SPs) have worked closely with our students, offering individualized feedback and guided practice in clinical skills.

Our curriculum is integrated, meaning that students may move from an anatomy course studying the heart to a physical exam session practicing a cardiac exam and then to interviewing an SP who is portraying a patient experiencing chest pain.

As students progress through their training, they work with increasingly more complex patients and clinical scenarios. At every level, students receive feedback from the SPs, who are trained to observe students' communication and clinical skills. They also receive feedback from peers and clinician-facilitators.

Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) are used to track the progress of students throughout the curriculum. Here, the SPs are involved by portraying patient scenarious in a standardized manner while also rating student behaviors with checklists created to examine specific learning objectives.

Our students consistently report how much they appreciate working with SPs. Students can practice important skills in a safe, supportive environment, and continue to practice until they master the skills and feel confident in their abilities!