Clinical Skills Program

The Clinical Skills Program is an educational and assessment resource designed to support the learning objectives (curriculum) of the Duke University School of Medicine.

We are dedicated to providing quality instructional and assessment programs to medical students, residents and other health care professionals.

The mission of the Clinical Skills Program is to promote and facilitate educational clinical experiences in an immersive learning environment, with the ultimate goals of developing the interviewing skills, physical exam techniques, diagnostic reasoning, and professionalism needed for the practice of medicine.

Clinical Skills Lab

Testing and teaching are done in the new Clinical Skills Lab, located on the fifth floor of the Trent Semans Center. The Clinical Skills Lab has ten simulated clinic rooms and two simulated hospital rooms. The space is equipped with LearningSpace, a web-based technology, which allows faculty and staff to set up, control and videotape the encounters, and also allows faculty and students to review the encounters on any computer with an internet connection. Each room is equipped with all relevant clinical tools as well as a desktop computer, with a second desktop computer just outside the door, making feedback and assessment quite simple for faculty, students and standardized patients.

Other projects that do not require the lab space take part in a variety of settings including the School of Nursing and the Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant programs.

Standardized Patient Program

Standardized Patients (SPs) are individuals who are carefully trained to portray patient roles. Interacting with SPs in a safe and authentic environment allows learners to develop skills such as data gathering, physical examination, patient communication, diagnosis reasoning and professionalism, in a safe and authentic environment.

Standardized Patient encounters are a powerful tool for teaching and assessing communication and procedural skills. By using SPs rather than real patients for an assessment, every student can be assessed in a standardized encounter, which increases the validity of the assessment. Another major advantage of using SPs is the opportunity for learners to receive immediate feedback from a trained person on how their approaches and skills may affect a patient.

The Standardized Patient Program at Duke University was established in 1991 in order to provide this hands-on assessment for students in the School of Medicine. Since then, it has grown and evolved into a dynamic program serving the entire university. We employ over 70 actors and utilize a number of scenarios/cases. Each year hundreds of learners are involved in using this unique, effective and entertaining instructional method in their educational experience.
If you are interested in using the Clinical Skills Lab or Standardized Patients for your educational experiences, please contact us at 919-681-7282.