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Students in OSCE exam

Queen's Standardized Patient Program Set for Expansion

Simulated learning is an evolving and expanding aspect of health care education, and one that our faculty has invested heavily in over the last several years. Today, we are excited to announce that one element of the simulated learning programs at Queen's is ready to take things to another level, as the Standardized Patient (SP) & Objective Standardized Clinical Examination (OSCE) Program at Queen’s is preparing to expand to the wider university and Kingston communities. After years of success within the Faculty of Health Sciences, 2018 will mark the official expansion of the program. The mission of the program is to prepare future health professionals for the challenges of an increasingly diverse society.

Standardized Patients (SP) are actors who are trained to convincingly portray the physical, historical and emotional features of a real person for educational purposes. This is done through simulated interviews and examinations; SPs are also trained to provide feedback so students can gain insight into their strengths as well as areas requiring improvement. 

“The standardized patient program allows our medical students and residents the opportunity to practice their clinical skills in a safe and non‑threatening environment. This then translates into success at their OSCEs. The quality of our SPs makes the encounters seem like the real thing,” says Dr. Melanie Jaeger, Anesthesiologist & Medical Educator.

Any department or organization which involves human interaction can benefit from the use of standardized patients as part of their education and training.  Watching our students develop through simulated learning is truly rewarding.  As the request for SP encounters has increased, the program has evolved to meet this growing demand.” says Kate Slagle, the SP & OSCE Program Manager.

Some areas in which SPs can be utilized include: 

  • Interviewing skills and techniques
  • Conflict resolution training
  • Facilitating difficult conversations: Breaking bad news, end of life care, organ donation, etc.
  • Continuing education/training support
  • Role play
  • Mystery shopper experience
  • Lecture hall learning
  • Educational and/or promotional videos
  • Research participants
  • General physical exams and clinical techniques
  • Complex and/or invasive physical exams and clinical techniques

For the past six months, those behind the program have been working with the university to get everything in place to take on external clients. The team is now looking to offer its services to both the wider university community (for staff and student training/development) and Kingston-based organizations (e.g. police, paramedic, fire and correctional departments, and local hospitals and colleges).

The launch is set to begin this month with an open house at the Queen’s School of Medicine Clinical Teaching Centre on March 26, 2018 from 1:00-4:00pm.  At the open house you can learn more about what the program has to offer, take a tour of the facility, and hear testimonials from those who have benefited from the program.

For more information about the open house, program or to apply to be an SP, visit the website. Other Queen’s faculties and community groups interested in utilizing the program can contact Rebecca Snowdon

The Queen’s Standardized Patient & OSCE Program has been operating since 1992 and employs more than 100 standardized patients who assist in clinical skills and examinations for Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

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