Clinical Skills Center
The OUWB Clinical Skills Center is the primary site for learners to practice and perfect their patient skills in a realistic, state of the art facility. The Clinical Skills Center is home to 15 simulated patient rooms, separate student and patient assembly areas, meeting areas, and separate video control and observation suites. Our goal is to provide as realistic a clinical experience as possible in a welcoming environment.
Fast Facts about the Clinical Skills Center
The OUWB Clinical Skills Center, or “Practice Clinic,” was formerly the site of the Beaumont Troy Family Medicine clinic.
The Clinical Skills Center is equipped to appear identical to a typical Family Medicine clinic. Additionally, each of the 15 exam rooms is equipped with video cameras and two-way communication with the master control station.
Students from all four years of medical school participate in clinical skills activities. This includes instruction, practice, and testing in interviewing and physical examination. Much of this instruction is conducted using Standardized Patients, persons trained to realistically simulate actual patients.
A "Harvey Heart Sounds” cardiovascular training mannequin is a key element of instruction in the examination of the cardiovascular system. With the touch of a button, the Harvey mannequin can be programmed to realistically portray myriad combinations of physical exam findings, each consistent with a specific condition or diagnosis.
The CAE (formerly METI) Learning Space system installed in the Clinical Skills Center represents the latest generation of web based clinical skills management systems. Not only can it simultaneously manage input from cameras, computers, iPads and other devices, it is designed to be virtually invisible to users.
Student videos and grading information are instantly cross-referenced and stored on the server, ready for faculty review with learners anywhere, anytime.
The entire Clinical Skills Center has its own dedicated OUWB wireless internet portal, allowing students, faculty and staff the same internet access and functions as the main campus of Oakland University.
What is a Standardized Patient?
A Standardized Patient (SP) is a layperson trained to present a clinical scenario just like a “real” patient for teaching or testing. SPs work at the OUWB Clinical Skills Center.
What are Standardized Patients (SPs) used for?
Students learn to interview/examine patients and gather information needed to help diagnose their problems. Students are also engaged in the following:
- practicing effective interpersonal skills to better communicate with patients
- learning appropriate techniques and approaches for physical examination of patients
- learning techniques to counsel patients in a variety of circumstances on a variety of issues
- gaining experience with challenging issues such as breaking bad news
What is a Standardized Patient?
A Simulated/Standardized Patient (SP) is a person who has been coached to accurately and consistently recreate the history, personality, physical findings, and emotional structure and response pattern of an actual patient at a particular point in time.
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine employs Standardized Patients in the training and evaluation of health care professionals. As a Standardized Patient, you will be interviewed and examined, just as you would by your regular doctor, by male and female health-care students. In the patient role, you may see several (4-12) students on a one-to-one basis during an evaluation session or there may be a group of students (4-7) working with you in a controlled teaching session.
How will I know what to say when the students interview me?
You will be given a “patient case” or script detailing the current medical problem, past medical history, family and social situation, and emotional state you will need to portray. You will learn to appear as the patient by using specific body language, movement, and responses to physical examination. You will also be trained to look for specific student responses and skills, to record them, and to give feedback to the students on their performance.
Will the students know we aren’t real patients?
Yes, all students are aware that they are seeing SPs, but they are instructed to treat an SP just like a real patient.
Will I have to have physical examinations done?
It depends on your assignment, role, or case. Some scenarios require students to perform partial or complete physical examinations, while others focus on interviewing the patient only. Before you are offered an opportunity to take on a patient role we will talk with you to ensure you are comfortable with what you are expected to do. We will not at any time force you to portray any case, interview, or physical exam that makes you feel uncomfortable.
What type of physical examinations will be done?
Students will perform focused physical examinations based on the patient case. These examinations may include: listening to heart and lungs with a stethoscope; pressing on your abdomen, neck, face, and limbs to assess tenderness; using a scope to look in your ears, eyes, nose, and throat; taking your pulse and blood pressure; checking muscle strength, reflexes, range of motion, and gait. A small group of specialized SPs, Standardized Patient Teaching Associates (SPTAs), are trained to teach basic physical examination techniques using their own bodies. Sensitive exams such as breast, pelvic, genital, or rectal examinations will not be performed unless you are part of the gynecological or male urological teaching associates (GTA/MUTA) programs. Invasive procedures such as injections, blood drawing, X-ray, etc. are not performed.
Will I have to remove my clothing?
SPs are generally required to wear hospital gowns during the sessions. You always wear underclothing beneath the gowns, usually shorts or sweatpants, as well as a sports bra for females.
Will I need to know a lot about medicine?
No! Your patient case will contain all the information you need for portrayal and feedback.
Is my previous health history important?
It might be. Each patient is matched with a case – an SP who has had an appendectomy could not portray a patient with appendicitis. However, a surgical scar might not matter in a case about a headache, or wrist pain. Your answers on the medical database questionnaire will help match you to appropriate patient cases.
How are Standardized Patients selected?
As an SP, you will use a wide range of skills. You will need to role-play and work with a varied group of people. It is important for any encounters requiring physical examinations that you are comfortable with your body and letting others touch and examine you. Strong written and verbal communication skills are required. Punctuality, reliability, flexibility, and a desire to help students learn are imperative.
Do I need to be an actor?
No, although many actors work as SPs. The focus is on providing the student with an educational opportunity, not on performance or dramatic interpretation. Playing a patient case is extremely repetitive and precise, as exactly the same simulation must be presented for every student encounter in a specific session. However, many actors and non-actors find this work rewarding. You will contribute to the education of future health care providers, and many students are extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with SPs and receive feedback on their skills in a “safe” environment. An added bonus is that SPs often become more comfortable with their own medical issues while working in the program.
How often would I work?
The work is temporary, part-time, and seasonal. SP sessions are scheduled according to student needs and program requirements. Some SPs will work each morning for a month, others may work every other week, still others may work three full days in a month. SPs who perform satisfactorily may be given first preference for future work, depending on need and case requirements.
How much does it pay?
Currently SPs are paid an hourly rate ($15-22/hr depending on experience and assignment) through Oakland University's payroll system, and receive payment twice per month.
Will I have to grade the student?
Sometimes. If you act as a rater you will be trained to complete a checklist record of the encounter. Sometimes you will be asked to subjectively rate communication skills. For some student encounters a specialized group of SPs, Standardized Patient Communications Associate (SPCAs), provide detailed constructive feedback for students based on their performance.
What else should I know about being a Standardized Patient?
This job is not easy and it is not for everybody. It requires intense concentration while being interviewed and or examined. You must be able to respond exactly as a real patient would. You must be able to maintain not only the patient’s character, but also simulate that patient's physical condition during an encounter. SPTAs and SPCAs require additional, rigorous training before working with students. When the encounter is over you must recall the student’s performance and record it on a checklist. You may also be required to provide verbal feedback directly to the student. You will repeat these tasks many times in succession without change. Being an SP takes energy, memorization, discipline, concentration, excellent communication skills, and a high level of comfort with your own health.
I’m interested in becoming a Standardized Patient. What should I do next?
Complete and submit the online application. Your application will be kept on file, and you may contact us at any time to update information. Group interviews are conducted periodically throughout the year and are by appointment only. If you are invited for an interview we will contact you with arrangements. Interviews are customarily scheduled based on program needs.