By Wendy Sarubbi | July 27, 2015 11:49 am

The patient actors who train the future physicians at UCF College of Medicine don’t usually find themselves back in the classroom , but the latest Standardized Patient Education session called on them to learn as much as they teach.

“We want to give them the tools to impart their patient experience to the students—how it felt to be their patient,” said University of Illinois at Chicago standardized patient trainer Robert Kiser, who traveled to Central Florida for the training sessions last month. “Ultimately, this training is to provide the best educational experience for the student.”

UCF’s nearly 60 standardized patients (SPs) come from all walks of life: from retirees to college students, scientists and stay-at-home-moms. They serve as “practice” patients for students in the College’s Clinical Skills & Simulation Center, acting out a variety scenarios from routine checkups to emergencies with frantic family members in the simulation. Associate Professor of Medical Education Dr. Analia Castiglioni says working with standardized patients is vital to the curriculum and one that students practice from their first weeks in medical school. “These are really the first patients that students interact with in their medical careers—and in a safe environment,” she said, adding that the sessions are monitored and even recorded so students can go back and critique themselves. “We are able to portray the same skills to all the students, and we can asses them all using the same ruler, if you will.”

Kiser, who was a Standardized Patient before becoming Assistant Director of the program at UIC, says Standardized Patient input wasn’t always valued, but has become an integral part of the clinical skills of physicians in training. “The strength of using Standardized Patients is that each one is different, so the the feedback can be different each time,” he said.

During the education sessions, Kiser offered tactics so SPs can be more clear in their feedback to students after the simulation. “The goal is to take the judgment out of the feedback, and prevent defensiveness,” he said, suggesting that they use phrases like: ‘When you talked fast, it made me feel rushed’ instead of: ‘You talk too fast.’

“We’re focusing on making more declarative statements without all the fluff, and I can see the value in that,” said Standardized Patient Fred Anklam, who has been with the medical school since it opened. He has seen dozens of students grow through their four years of medical school, as he plays the role of patient. “They transform from students to physicians right before your eyes,” he said.

Victor Changsan, who is newer to the SP program, said the training sessions helped him to be a better teacher in simulations. “I’ve had things that I wanted to say, but didn’t have the clearest way of saying them so that the student knew exactly what they did right or wrong,” he said. “This gives me clear direction as to what I can do to enhance the simulation.”

Standardized Patients are seen as educators, with their own special role in a medical student’s education, which is why training and continuing education is so important for their own development. “The more tools that they have in their arsenal, the more they will be able to enhance the educational experience for the students, which is what it’s all about,” Kiser said.

The College of Medicine is always looking for additional Standardized Patients. Please email or call at 407-266-1153 for information on submitting an application to the program.


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