Standardized Patients to Teaching Medical Students about Intimate Partner Violence
Objective: To use 360-degree evaluations within an Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) to assess medical student comfort level and communication skills with intimate partner violence (IPV) patients.
Methods: We assessed a cohort of fourth year medical students’ performance using an IPV standardized patient (SP) encounter in an OSCE. Blinded pre- and post-tests determined the students’ knowledge and comfort level with core IPV assessment. Students, SPs and investigators completed a 360-degree evaluation that focused on each student’s communication and competency skills. We computed frequencies, means and correlations.
Results: Forty-one students participated in the SP exercise during three separate evaluation periods. Results noted insignificant increase in students’ comfort level pre-test (2.7) and post-test (2.9). Although 88% of students screened for IPV and 98% asked about the injury, only 39% asked about verbal abuse, 17% asked if the patient had a safety plan, and 13% communicated to the patient that IPV is illegal. Using Likert scoring on the competency and overall evaluation (1, very poor and 5, very good), the mean score for each evaluator was 4.1 (competency) and 3.7 (overall). The correlations between trainee comfort level and the specific competencies of patient care, communication skill and professionalism were positive and significant (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Students felt somewhat comfortable caring for patients with IPV. OSCEs with SPs can be used to assess student competencies in caring for patients with IPV. [West J Emerg Med. 2010; 11(5):500-505.]