Title

Standardized Patient Instructor (SPI) interactions are a viable way to teach medical students about health behavior counseling

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

8-1-2011

Journal

Patient Education and Counseling

Volume

84

Issue

2

DOI

10.1016/j.pec.2010.07.047

Keywords

Health behavior counseling; Health promotion; Medical student feedback; Standardized patients

Abstract

Objectives: We explored comfort levels of third-year medical (M3) students through two health behavior counseling (HBC) interactions with Standardized Patient Instructors (SPIs) in tobacco cessation (TCC) and nutrition and physical activity (NPA). Methods: Nearly 200 M3s participated in two SPI HBC interactions; including a role-play interview and subsequent feedback session on performance. Students completed a 5-point Likert scale evaluation measuring pre- and post-comfort level on two HBC sessions. Results: Both interactions resulted in statistically significant increases in student's pre- and post-interaction comfort levels. A paired-sample t-test revealed a mean increase of 0.91 for TCC (t = 14.01, df. = 197, p< 0.001), and a mean increase of 0.69 for NPA (t = 12.65, df. = 198, p< 0.001). Conclusion: The use of SPIs is a viable approach to exposing medical students and future doctors to health behavior counseling, and increasing comfort level with such skills. The SPI experience ensures that HBC opportunities are available and contain meaningful feedback on performance. Practice implications: Encouraging patient behavior modification is a skill that can be developed during undergraduate medical training. Combining HBC with SPI sessions and traditional learning approaches could prove effective in a curriculum intended to teach students strategies that improve patient health behavior. © 2010.

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