These problem-based learning (PBL) cases are designed to enhance the communication skills of health care professional students by providing them an opportunity to interact with a standardized patient (SP) on various advanced topics. These cases are intended to build on basic history taking skills that students have already acquired. Topics addressed in the cases include: patient with medically unexplained physical symptoms, facilitating a triadic interview, patient with non-adherence issues, advance directives, sexual history taking, and domestic violence. These scenarios have been used with second-year medical students in a doctoring course. The sessions allow a safe environment for students to practice communication skills on patients with complicated health issues. The interactions with the standardized patients allow for dynamic discussions about different approaches to talking with patients. The students are given immediate feedback on their techniques by the facilitator, colleagues, and the standardized patients. Students who complete these sessions are often more comfortable talking to patients and reflecting on their own experiences. Small-group student evaluations have averaged 4.4 (on a 5-point Likert scale) over the last 3 years. Some qualitative student feedback includes: "The small group cases were fertile learning experiences and I consider the practice I got in role-playing and watching others role play difficult interviewing scenarios to be the most valuable instruction that I've received," and "Learning to interview patients is a wonderful and essential skill."
- Obtain a detailed medical history, including the sexual history and psychosocial aspects, while expressing empathy and establishing rapport.
- Develop a diagnostic work-up appropriate for a patient presenting with a vague history.
- Develop tools for enhancing treatment adherence using the ETHNIC mnemonic.
- Help patients cope with negative medical outcomes.
- Recognize their own response to patients who are non-adherent.
- Utilize new skills in facilitating a triadic interview.
- Demonstrate the ability to initiate and respond to discussions of advance directives.
- Demonstrate the ability to discuss domestic violence issues with a patient and develop a support plan.
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