Standardized Patient

29 Sep

I chatted with a good friend briefly last night and mentioned that we had had our first session with a standardized patient that day.  “What’s a standardized patient?”  Oh…right, I forgot that not everyone dates someone throughout his four years of medical school.  Anyway, I hope you all know how important accessibility is in this blog experiment, so please let me know if you would ever like me to clarify anything–I want to be able to share my med school experience with you!

A standardized (or simulated) patient is an actor trained to behave like a real patient, imitating symptoms and presenting an often detailed history.  At this point in the game, we’re at the basics, simply trying to have open discussions with the patients, getting them to open up to us about their chief complaint, medical and personal histories.

“Hello, my name is Anna and I’m a first-year medical student.  Would you mind if I speak with you for a few minutes before you see the doctor?  What brings you in today?”

Open-ended questions is the name of the game.

And all this exercise is done in front of our respective learning teams and preceptors, who can call time-out to give feedback.  After about 7-10 minutes, the scenario ends, and everyone (especially the patient) gives you feedback.

It sounds so basic, but it’s challenging (at least for me)…and totally invigorating!  I cannot wait to get in the hospital, to begin clerkships!  I think I did okay.  And, apparently, when I’m nervous, no one can tell that my hands are frigid or that my stomach is doing flips…which I take as a good thing.

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