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The Standardized Patient Program Hosts Their Annual Pediatric Simulation Event

The Burrell College Standardized Patient Program hosted their annual Pediatric Simulation event on February 28th, 2023. This event falls under the Standardized Patient Program umbrella, a series of programs that allow first- and second-year medical students to practice their patient-interaction skills in a controlled environment. This program is unique and involves bringing in members of the local community to assist in the acting out of patient cases for student doctors.

The Standardized Patient Program is managed and facilitated by Director Ben Matkin and Specialist Karen Provencio, in collaboration with many members of Burrell faculty and staff. Burrell’s teaching faculty develop the patient cases in coordination with the topics of discussion that students are encountering that semester. “The program is set up to allow the students an opportunity to practice/improve their communication skills as well as the interview and exam skills they are learning during each block,” says Matkin.

The Standardized Patient Program started in the Fall of 2016 and has about one hundred patient actors in its program that join our student doctors in our staged clinics on a weekly basis throughout the year. They are provided a script and training by our staff on the best ways to portray the patient case to the student doctors in order to emulate a realistic experience. “During the semester, the students are learning clinical skills with the faculty in their weekly labs,” Matkin explains. “In the sessions in our clinic with the actors, the students get tested on their knowledge and ability to perform those skills.”

The Pediatric Simulation event is a special circumstance for second-year students, because it allows them the opportunity to interact with youth patients in a safe practice setting. This year the program had almost twenty youth volunteers, ranging in age from three months to eleven years old, accompanied by their guardians, many of whom are faculty, staff, and students at the campus. Student doctors worked with faculty and staff to walk through the different approaches needed for the different ages of youth patients, and the important medical observations they need to look out for in each age range.

“What’s great about the program is that it gives the students an opportunity to experience patient scenarios prior to being out in a clinic or hospital setting,” says Matkin. “It’s a great learning environment for both the students and the actors. However, the biggest part about our program that makes it unique are our awesome standardized patients. Each of them brings a positive attitude and unique life experiences to the program. It wouldn’t be the same without them!”

For anyone 18 years or older who is interested in participating in the Standardized Patient Program, more information about the program and applying is available here. As openings and opportunities arise throughout the school year, the program will contact potential patient actors. No prior acting is required but a positive attitude, communication skills, and daytime availability is needed.