MANUSCRIPT: Standardized Patient’s Views About their Role in the Teaching-Learning Process of Undergraduate Basic Science Medical Students
Standardized Patients (SPs) are widely used in medical education. SPs have a number of advantages but also have certain limitations. At the institution, SPs have been used since January 2013 for both teaching-learning and assessment during the basic science years of the undergraduate medical program.
The present study was conducted to investigate the perception of SPs about various aspects of the program and obtain suggestions for further improvement.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was conducted with a group of five SPs during the second week of November 2015. Respondents were explained the aims and objectives of the study and invited to participate. Written informed consent was obtained. The FGD was conducted using a discussion guide and was audio recorded. Various aspects of the SP program at the institution were discussed. Motivation/s for joining the program and suggestions for further improvement were obtained. Transcripts were created after listening to the recordings and were read through multiple times. Similar responses were coded. Items with similar codes were grouped together into themes.
Three respondents were female while two were male. The major advantage of SPs was their flexibility and ability to present a standardized response to the student. Students become familiar and comfortable with SPs. However, as a SP is simulating an illness s/he may not always be able to do complete justice to the role. The process used by SPs to prepare themselves to portray various diseases was highlighted. The use of SPs both during teaching-learning and assessment was also discussed. Some SPs are trained to provide feedback to students. Most SPs joined the program based on invitations from their friends who were already SPs. Challenges in recruiting SPs in a small island were discussed. Suggestions for further improvement were obtained.
The present study obtained the perception of SPs regarding various aspects of the SP program at the institution. The overall opinion of SPs was positive.