An actor was one of my first patients. They were trained as a “simulated patient” at the University of Minnesota’s Interprofessional Education and Resource Center (IERC) and Simulation Center. I was given a standardized history of the patient on a computer outside the room and then entered the room to begin my encounter. After the encounter, the patient/actor and myself entered feedback and remarks on separate computers and then we are able to discuss together. The encounters are videotaped for faculty review and for us to look back on.
I have had the opportunity to use this center three times so far. The first session was a simulated treatment planning appointment (as pictured above with Nate Burbach, Minnesota ’14). We were able to practice describing findings and review treatment options. I immediately recognized the need to develop laymen’s terminology to discuss findings and treatment options with patients. Discussing finances and insurance coverage also came up. Since this can be a sensitive topic for some, it was very informative getting feedback from the patient/actor on how to approach the associated costs.
Another scenario we were presented with was dealing with sensitive topics such as domestic abuse and oral cancer. We tested our skills to communicating concerns with the patient/actor and developed our skills at asking probing questions to determine what was going on. I feel better prepared in handling these sensitive issues and how to effectively work with patients on the matter.
Training for possible dental emergencies was also simulated for us. We were split into groups and had three rooms to visit. These rooms had an eerily lifelike robot mannequin as the patient. They could blink, you could feel a pulse, and under the control of someone sitting in an adjacent room, they even spoke to us. We were faced emergencies such as an asthma attack, having a seizure, and even going into cardiac arrest (my group successfully revived the patient through CPR!). It was a great experience putting us on the spot to make decisions and work together to take care of the patient. I certainly appreciate that the first “patient” of mine that this has happened to was a mannequin.
Are you provided any hands-on training in this sort of patient management at your school?
How do you develop your patient management skills?
~Katie Divine, Minnesota ’13, editor-in-chief