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Clinical Skills Center

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Clinical Skills Center

We are an educational and assessment resource designed to support the learning objectives of the University of Virginia School of Medicine . Based in the Clinical Performance Education Center, Clinical Skills Center recruits and trains simulated or standardized patients for instructional and assessment exercises. We are dedicated to providing quality instructional and assessment programs to medical students, residents and other health care professionals.

photo of students are doing exams on a standardized patient     PX

Standardized patient methodology has been established as a valid, reliable and practical method of teaching and evaluating medical students. A properly trained standardized or simulated patient can serve as a patient, teacher and evaluator, allowing our future health care providers the opportunity to practice and receive feedback on specific skills related to patient interviewing, physical examinations and issues of professionalism. Our ultimate goal is to prepare learner participants to be competent and compassionate physicians that provide quality, state-of-the-art patient care.

Standardized patients (SPs) are individuals who are carefully screened and trained to simulate the signs and symptoms of an actual patient. The cases they portray are based on actual patient encounters experienced by physicians. Standardized patients (SPs) are also trained to provide feedback to the learners, especially in the area of interpersonal communication.

The use of standardized patients allows medical students and faculty to experience:

Hands-on teaching, patient interaction, examination practice and assessment of their clinical, professional and communication skills in an authentic examination scenario

  • Immediate feedback
  • Patient-centered interviewing techniques
  • Patient diversity and cultural differences
  • Multiple diseases
  • Visual monitoring through video taping and/or web streaming technology

Since our inception in 1994, learner participation has increased to 4300 hours of formative and summative activities in both undergraduate and graduate medical education. We have 150 standardized patients currently registered, offering us a variety of skills, languages and cultural diversities. Presently, there are 140 cases on file for faculty and program use.

Besides our professional staff, the program has an Advisory Committee comprised of faculty and curriculum specialists who are also case reviewers and serve as program development advisors.

Our Facility

The Clinical Skills Center features 18 outpatient exam rooms and 2 inpatient bedrooms dedicated to the teaching mission of the School of Medicine.  All twenty rooms are fully equipped with audio and video capabilities with 2-3 cameras to capture various views.  The exam rooms are sized to accommodate one on one learner-patient encounters as well as teaching sessions with small groups of six students with mentors and patient.  Three exam rooms are equipped with phones for telemedicine cases.  There is an observation hallway with views through one way mirrors into 4 exam rooms.  Two conference rooms exist for teaching and debriefing students and an additional space is dedicated for standardized patient training.  One additional smaller conference room is dedicated to teaching with the Harvey heart sound simulator, but is also used for teaching ultrasound techniques and as a faculty observation room.  There is a monitor room suitable for managing multiple events throughout the clinic.  Offices exist for Clinical Skills Center faculty and staff.  The entire enterprise is operated with fifty iMac computers for pre and post-encounter data, observation and administration. 

Hallway 2

The Clinical Skills Center uses a standardized patient software program, METI LearningSpace, to assist us with event scheduling, exam management, learner evaluations and data analysis. The online, web-based system is an effective tool for continuously monitoring exam performances and case objectives. The METI LearningSpace will assist us in creating checklists and questionnaires, student data collection, performance analysis, and calculation of student scores. It is accessible online to faculty and students.

For further information about the Clinical Skills Center contact us.

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