Leonard J. Levine,Drexel University College of Medicine,Philadelphia,PA,Christina Cestone,Drexel University College of Medicine,Philadelphia,PA,Nadja G. Peter,Drexel University College of Medicine,Philadelphia,PA
Obtaining a comprehensive adolescent psychosocial history is critical given that morbidity and mortality in adolescents are often related to preventable behaviors. Standardized patient (SP) encounters are used for teaching history-taking skills to medical students, but infrequently use adolescent patients and can be difficult to implement in schools with a distributed clinical campus model. However, web-based SP encounters can be particularly useful when students are spread over a wide geographic area.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based SP encounter with an adolescent patient on improving medical student confidence and comfort with communication skills during an adolescent psychosocial history.
Self-assessment of adolescent psychosocial history skills improved from pre- to post-test for all items measured (p < .05). (See Table.) In addition, over 90% of clerkship students agreed or strongly agreed that their experience in the WebPatientEncounter module would be beneficial to their ability to work with adolescent patients in the future. Narrative comments revealed a perceived improvement in: rapport-building, asking open-ended questions, soliciting reasons for risky behaviors, asking more specifically about suicidality, avoiding being judgmental, and planning for closer follow-up.Discussion:
This study suggests that a web-based Standardized Patient module enhances medical student comfort, confidence, and knowledge with the adolescent psychosocial history and the communication skills needed when screening and counseling adolescents. The use of a remote video link for the SP encounter can ensure a standardized training experience for students distributed across multiple campuses/geographic areas.