Simulated Patient Volunteer Program
Students attending the AU/UGA Medical Partnership study the art of doctoring through the Clinical Skills Program, which emphasizes the importance of communication, professionalism, history-taking, and physical examination. The Athens campus teaches clinical skills using a blend of learning activities with a focus on patient interaction.
Ten small group classrooms are designed and equipped to video record visits between students and Simulated Patient Volunteers. Faculty in a nearby room can monitor the encounters and provide feedback to students in order to improve their communication and other skills.
What is a Simulated Patient?
Simulated Patient Volunteers (SPVs) are individuals from the community who portray patients for the purpose of teaching medical students within an educational program. SPVs allow students to develop excellent bedside manner, data-gathering skills, and other clinical skills such as physical examination.
Unlike a real patient, SPVs have the opportunity to provide the medical student with valuable feedback to help improve their ability to interact with patients. Training with SPVs has proven beneficial in helping medical students learn to become excellent physicians.
What does a Simulated Patient Volunteer do?
In some instances, a SPV will have the opportunity to provide their own medical history as if they were at a real appointment with a personal physician.
In other situations, SPVs study a case scenario and are scripted to give specific responses and behaviors necessary for realistic portrayals. A trained SPV simulates a real patient, presenting not just the patient history, but also the body language, emotions, and personality of the character they are depicting.
SPV training may involve a video review of previous SPV-student encounters or role playing case scenarios with faculty members. In addition, SPVs are provided instruction on how to assess and offer feedback on medical students' abilities to interact with patients. In testing or graded situations, SPVs complete student evaluations based on the specific set of skills being assessed.