During the course of their medical education, MCW medical students need to learn how to effectively interact with patients, take a succinct history and complete a thorough physical exam. This takes practice. One place where students get this practice is in the STAR Center, and one person who helps make it possible is Debra Amos.
The STAR Center (Standardized Teaching Assessment Resource Center) provides a learning environment where students, residents, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can practice their clinical skills using standardized (or actor) patients, medical simulators and task trainers under the direction of MCW faculty and staff.
Amos, Education Program Coordinator II, works closely with faculty to develop the standardized patient cases and then trains the standardized patients so they properly portray their conditions and symptoms to the students. Amos is also responsible for instructing the standardized patients on the proper way to effectively critique the students’ work following each encounter. By all accounts, she does this well.
“We evaluate the students after most sessions,” Amos said. “They continually state how well the standardized patients were prepared, how much they valued their experience with the standardized patients, and how the experience helped them prepare for Step 2 of the medical licensing exam.”
Amos loves her job and really enjoys being a part of the training MCW provides the medical students. Working with the students and watching them as they progress through their medical education has been very rewarding for her. She loves to see the students develop confidence and professionalism, and knows that she has contributed in making these students more effective in their practice.
“The STAR Center,” Amos said “provides a safe learning environment for students to develop their skills interacting and examining patients in an exam room, at the bedside, and even gives them a chance to work on delivering bad news, which, unfortunately, is a part of job.
“Our students have the opportunity to practice everything, from working with pediatric patients to working in a geriatric clinical setting, as well as working with patients going through a wide spectrum of human experiences such as alcohol dependence, pregnancy and emergency techniques. I feel so blessed to be able to contribute to this component of their education.”
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