The Standardized Patient (SP) Program is an integral part of UHSA’s Medical Education. It gives medical, and nursing students the real-life experience necessary to develop and continuously improve their clinical skills. The SP Program employs highly trained staff to portray patients with a wide variety of symptoms and illnesses.

Beginning in the first year of medical school, these standardized patients teach students to perform a complete physical examination, take a medical history and effectively communicate with an extensive and diverse population.

Faculty preceptors and standardized patients themselves provide detailed feedback to each student, thereby improving each future clinician’s ability to provide the very best healthcare. By interacting with standardized patients before their clinical rotations begin, UHSA health sciences students are more confident and knowledgeable when faced with their first clinical experiences.

The curricular scheme for the Teaching and Assessment of Clinical Skills Program has been divided into two phases throughout the years of study.

Phase 1 corresponds to the basic sciences years, and Phase 2 corresponds to the clinical sciences years:

  • Phase 1: Assesses whether an examinee understands and can apply key concepts of basic biomedical sciences, with an emphasis on principles and mechanisms of health, disease, and modes of therapy. It also assesses whether the examinee can demonstrate the fundamental clinical skills essential for safe and effective patient care. These clinical skills include taking a relevant medical history, performing an appropriate physical examination, communicating effectively with the patient. The examination includes multiple-choice questions of Anatomy, Behavioral Sciences, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology, as well as interdisciplinary topics
  • Phase 2: Assesses whether an examinee understands and can apply the medical knowledge and understanding of clinical science considered essential for the provision of patient care, including an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. It also assesses whether the examinee can demonstrate the fundamental clinical skills essential for safe and effective patient care. These clinical skills include taking a relevant medical history, performing an appropriate physical examination, communicating effectively with the patient, clearly and accurately documenting the findings and diagnostic hypothesis from the clinical encounter, and ordering appropriate initial diagnostic studies. The examination includes multiple-choice questions on Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Psychiatry, Surgery, and other areas relevant to the provision of care

Overview of Methods of Assessment

There are many known assessment tools or methodologies that can be considered for inclusion in the Teaching and Assessment of Clinical Skills Program developed by the curriculum. A type of assessment tool includes, “authentic assessment” where the tasks that students perform simulate clinical situations. This type of evaluation stages real world encounters and provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and strategies for implementing critical thinking and decision-making skills. The goal is to identify specific student clinical strengths and weaknesses. The objective is that the results of this examination could provide the faculty with guidelines in order to improve the students in their identified areas of weakness.

The methods and resources for teaching and learning of clinical skills managed by the Teaching and Assessment of Clinical Skills Program should include:

  • Standartized Patients (SP) Examinations
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE)
  • Comprehensive Clinical Skills Assessment exams (CSA) and Clinical Performance Examinations (CPX)
  • Computer Case-Based Examinations
  • Simulated Recall/Video Performance Reviews
  • Community-Based Preceptorships
  • Multiple-Choice Questions
  • Self-Assessment