Using standardized patient instructors to teach health promotion interviewing skills

Penny C. Sharp, Kevin A. Pearce, Joseph C. Konen, Mark P. Knudson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Medical students report knowledge, but inadequate skills, in health promotion and disease prevention (HPDP) technology. An established methodology using standardized patient instructors (SPIs) was adapted and tested for effectiveness in teaching HPDP. Methods: Thirteen lay persons were trained and given profiles showing high cardiovascular risks. During their family medicine clerkship, 104 students engaged in one-to-one exercises with the SPIs. Half of these sessions were spent in the doctor-patient interview; in the other half, the SPI gave specific feedback using a validated scale. Encounters were videotaped. Results: The students rated the SPI feedback as the program's most valuable aspect and the videotaping as the least valuable. The SPI feedback was rated valuable by 90%-96% of the students. The students also reported that the skills acquired were likely to be used, and they had learned 'much' or 'very much.' As a group, students' self-assessments did not differ from the SPIs' assessments of the students. Conclusion: Lay SPIs are a powerful educational tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-106
Number of pages4
JournalFamily Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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