As we get closer to the Medical School’s move to its new home, we look forward to features of the building that will enhance our educational capabilities. This month, we are focusing on the Clinical Skills Suite, which will bring our students into a real-world outpatient setting.
One of the core components of the first- and second-year curriculum is Doctoring. This course encompasses the basic clinical skills used in assessing a patient: the patient interview and physical exam. The course also includes a community mentoring program in which students are paired with community-based and hospital-based physicians. When in these physicians’ offices, students are given the opportunity to hone the clinical skills that they learn in the didactic and small group components of Doctoring.
The Clinical Skills Suite allows us to take student education in the assessment of and interaction with patients to the next level by providing a place for examination, interviews and feedback from instructors to students. The 16 exam rooms in the suite are designed to mimic a typical outpatient office space. The facility will be used for interactions between medical students and standardized patients (actors trained to portray patients in clinical settings). The students will conduct mock interviews and examinations, which can be video-recorded for student learning and assessment.
Aside from the exam rooms, the suite will contain an instructional and relaxation area for standardized patients. Two of the exam rooms will be slightly larger than the others to allow for changes in instructional techniques and future enhancements, including the use of high-fidelity mannequins. The suite will also contain a conference room, administrative space, and lounge for the “patients.” The clinical skills suite will be key to the preparation of students for the clinical rotations that take place during years 3 and 4. They will also be used for the assessment of students during their clinical years. This will take the form of Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs) that take place at the end of most clerkships and at the end of the third year. We fully expect that the Clinical Skills Suite will be a tremendous addition to the Medical School, one whose benefits will be felt immediately.
Philip Gruppuso, MD
Associate Dean for Medical Education