Incorporating simulators in a standardized patient exam.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Using simulated patients during a clinical skills exam that involves many students has the advantage of standardizing the delivery of historical data. One major disadvantage is the inability to standardize the physical exam findings. We designed a simulated patient exam that incorporates simulated abnormal physical exam findings. DESCRIPTION: The simulated patient exam case was divided into three separate stations: (1) the simulated patient's history, (2) the simulated physical exam, and (3) the presentation station. Dyspnea was chosen as the chief complaint because of the broad differential of possible cardiac and pulmonary auscultatory findings. In the first station, students obtained historical data from the standardized simulated patient. Students were graded on their ability to ask appropriate historical questions. Trained observers were used to verify the numbers of historical cues obtained by the students. The second station consisted of simulated physical exam findings. Students first measured the blood pressure on a commercially available blood pressure simulator arm from the Medical Plastics Laboratory, Inc., Gatesville, TX. Students then auscultated an abnormal digital heart sound and pulmonary sound from a small auscultation transducer developed by Andries Acoustics, Spicewood, TX. Students also palpated a simulated pulse from a newly developed pulse transducer. Digital cardiopulmonary sounds and pulse data were recorded onto a CD-ROM disc and transmitted to the small transducers via a CD-ROM disc player. Students used their own stethoscopes to auscultate cardiopulmonary sounds from the small transducers. The students were graded in the second station on their ability to accurately measure a blood pressure, identify abnormal cardiopulmonary digital sounds, and finally describe a peripheral pulse. In the third station, students presented the historical data and physical exam findings to a faculty member, and then provided a differential diagnosis list based on their key findings from the other two stations. A total of 171 students (n = 171) completed the simulated patient exam. Each student completed the exam in 45 minutes. DISCUSSION: In our simulated patient exam, students were evaluated not only on their data-gathering skills for key historical findings but also on the ability to correctly identify key physical exam findings such as abnormal cardiopulmonary sounds. Key physical exam findings were then integrated into the clinical decision-making process, which was presented in the faculty presentation station. Simulated patients with abnormal cardiopulmonary findings can be used for testing purposes. However, cardiac auscultatory abnormalities such as the ventricular S3 gallop are difficult to find and usually occur in a decompensated state such as heart failure. Other physical exam findings such as pulmonary crackles and wheezes also occur in decompensated conditions. Therefore, the use of simulators during a simulated patient exam offers the possibility of introducing several abnormal physical exam findings without having an unstable patient present in an exam setting. Further, the use of simulated physical exam findings allows for complete standardization of a clinical-simulated patient exam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-755
Number of pages2
JournalAcademic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
Volume77
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2002

Fingerprint

Students
student
Transducers
Aptitude
CD-ROM
Respiratory Sounds
Blood Pressure
ability
course of a disease
Stethoscopes
Heart Sounds
Auscultation
Lung
Clinical Competence
Acoustics
complaint
Dyspnea
acoustics
decision-making process
Plastics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Education

Cite this

Incorporating simulators in a standardized patient exam. / Karnath, Bernard; Frye, Ann W.; Holden, Mark.

In: Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Vol. 77, No. 7, 07.2002, p. 754-755.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "OBJECTIVE: Using simulated patients during a clinical skills exam that involves many students has the advantage of standardizing the delivery of historical data. One major disadvantage is the inability to standardize the physical exam findings. We designed a simulated patient exam that incorporates simulated abnormal physical exam findings. DESCRIPTION: The simulated patient exam case was divided into three separate stations: (1) the simulated patient's history, (2) the simulated physical exam, and (3) the presentation station. Dyspnea was chosen as the chief complaint because of the broad differential of possible cardiac and pulmonary auscultatory findings. In the first station, students obtained historical data from the standardized simulated patient. Students were graded on their ability to ask appropriate historical questions. Trained observers were used to verify the numbers of historical cues obtained by the students. The second station consisted of simulated physical exam findings. Students first measured the blood pressure on a commercially available blood pressure simulator arm from the Medical Plastics Laboratory, Inc., Gatesville, TX. Students then auscultated an abnormal digital heart sound and pulmonary sound from a small auscultation transducer developed by Andries Acoustics, Spicewood, TX. Students also palpated a simulated pulse from a newly developed pulse transducer. Digital cardiopulmonary sounds and pulse data were recorded onto a CD-ROM disc and transmitted to the small transducers via a CD-ROM disc player. Students used their own stethoscopes to auscultate cardiopulmonary sounds from the small transducers. The students were graded in the second station on their ability to accurately measure a blood pressure, identify abnormal cardiopulmonary digital sounds, and finally describe a peripheral pulse. In the third station, students presented the historical data and physical exam findings to a faculty member, and then provided a differential diagnosis list based on their key findings from the other two stations. A total of 171 students (n = 171) completed the simulated patient exam. Each student completed the exam in 45 minutes. DISCUSSION: In our simulated patient exam, students were evaluated not only on their data-gathering skills for key historical findings but also on the ability to correctly identify key physical exam findings such as abnormal cardiopulmonary sounds. Key physical exam findings were then integrated into the clinical decision-making process, which was presented in the faculty presentation station. Simulated patients with abnormal cardiopulmonary findings can be used for testing purposes. However, cardiac auscultatory abnormalities such as the ventricular S3 gallop are difficult to find and usually occur in a decompensated state such as heart failure. Other physical exam findings such as pulmonary crackles and wheezes also occur in decompensated conditions. Therefore, the use of simulators during a simulated patient exam offers the possibility of introducing several abnormal physical exam findings without having an unstable patient present in an exam setting. Further, the use of simulated physical exam findings allows for complete standardization of a clinical-simulated patient exam.",
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