Comparison of effect between simulated patient clinical skill training and student role play on objective structured clinical examination performance outcomes for medical students in Australia

Silas Taylor MEd, Matthew Haywood, Boaz Shulruf
Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions 2019, 16: 3

PURPOSE: Optimal methods for communication skills training (CST) is an active area for research but the effect on communication performance in objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE) has not been so closely studied. Student role play (RP) for CST is common whilst volunteer simulated patient (SP) CST is cost-effective and provides authentic interactions. We assessed whether our volunteer SP CST improved OSCE performance compared to our previous RP strategy.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective, quasi-experimental study of two second year medical student cohorts' OSCE data in Australia. The 2014 cohort received RP-only CST (N=182) while the 2016 cohort received SP-only CST (N=148). T-test and ANOVA were used to compare the total scores for three assessment domains: generic communication, clinical communication and physical examination/procedural skills.

RESULTS: Baseline characteristics for groups (scores for Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) and medicine program interview) showed no significantt difference between groups. For each domain, the SP-only CST group demonstrated superior outcomes in the OSCE and the difference between cohorts was significant (P < 0.01). Volunteer SP CST was superior to student RP CST when considering OSCE performance outcome., which was found across generic and clinical communication skills, and physical examination/procedural skills.

CONCLUSION: Better performance of the SP cohort in physical examination/procedural skills might be explained by the requirement for patient compliance and cooperation, facilitated by good generic communication skills. We recommend a volunteer SP Program as an effective and efficient way to improve CST for junior medical students.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"