Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Training Pediatric Residents as Simulated Adolescent Patients

Charles D. Hannum,Tufts University School of Medicine,Boston,MA,Mary E. Brown,Tufts University School of Medicine,Boston,MA


Simulated patients have been used successfully for instruction and assessment of the adolescent medical interview. Using professional simulated patients can be costly and resource-dependent. There is no data on using residents as simulated patients in medical education.


Our primary objective was to describe the experience and determine the effectiveness of the pediatric resident trained to be a simulated patient to teach the adolescent interview to third year medical students on their pediatric clerkship. This is a secondary project to evaluation of an adolescent simulated patient curriculum.


Most medical students rated the simulated patient exercises as “very effective” to “extremely effective” in addressing the curriculum learning objectives as both a participant (87%) and as an observer (91%). Most students felt the workshop had equal or more impact at addressing the comfort of interviewing adolescents than clinical experiences. Themes that emerged from the resident analysis include valuable experiences as a physician, teacher and student. Varying medical student knowledge levels were evident, and reminded residents that teaching must be tailored to the learner. Residents also recognized that real-life experiences can be translated through a simulated patient encounter and can be used to teach. Challenges emerging from the analysis include character development and giving feedback from a patient perspective.


Preliminary outcomes show that pediatric residents as simulated adolescent patients can be effectively used in medical education. This model can be easily incorporated at other institutions after a brief training session. A resident-based simulated patient training program may be a cost-effective alternative to the use of traditional simulated patients in medical education.