Springer Nature

Developing standardized patient-based cases for communication training: lessons learned from training residents to communicate diagnostic uncertainty

Posted on 2021-07-23 - 03:28
Abstract Health professions education has benefitted from standardized patient (SP) programs to develop and refine communication and interpersonal skills in trainees. Effective case design is essential to ensure an SP encounter successfully meets learning objectives that are focused on communication skills. Creative, well-designed case scenarios offer learners the opportunity to engage in complex patient encounters, while challenging them to address the personal and emotional contexts in which their patients are situated. Therefore, prior to considering the practical execution of the patient encounter, educators will first need a clear and structured strategy for writing, organizing, and developing cases. The authors reflect on lessons learned in developing standardized patient-based cases to train learners to communicate to patients during times of diagnostic uncertainty, and provide suggestions to develop a set of simulation cases that are both standardized and diverse. Key steps and workflow processes that can assist educators with case design are introduced. The authors review the need to increase awareness of and mitigate existing norms and implicit biases, while maximizing variation in patient diversity. Opportunities to leverage the breadth of emotional dispositions of the SP and the affective domain of a clinical encounter are also discussed as a means to guide future case development and maximize the value of a case for its respective learning outcomes.


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