Iowa Geriatric Education Center Iowa Geriatric Education Center

Standardized Patient Actor Training

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Section 5 - Debriefing the Student

 Older Man Talking to Female Medical Student WHAT SHOULD THE DEBRIEFING COVER?

For approximately 10 minutes after the clinical encounter has ended, you and the student observer will have the opportunity to discuss the student doctor's functional assessment with him or her, and also discuss what might be done to help improve the function of the simulation patient that you portrayed. The debrief should follow this pattern:

  1. Point out any recommended pieces of the functional assessment that the student doctor left out, and allow him or her to complete them.
  2. Discuss what the student doctor did well, and any mistakes that were made or things that could be improved.
  3. Discuss possible steps that could be taken to help improve the function of the simulation patient you played.

The "Did Your Physician ...?" checklist serves as a reminder about the specific elements of the functional assessment that need to be completed, and can be used to note what the student doctor does during the encounter. This checklist is therefore helpful in providing feedback on the student's performance.

At a minimum, you should provide the student with a copy of the completed checklist, noting which recommended tasks (those marked with a "+") were completed. If the student completed unnecessary tasks (marked with a "-"), this also should be noted as reducing the efficiency of the assessment.

Further feedback may be given to the student on the proper use of the assessment tools. For example, did he or she correctly instruct the patient on the MMSE three-stage command by giving all the commands before allowing the patient to respond? Did he or she correctly provide instructions on the clock drawing task and assist the patient when the circle was initially drawn too small?

Finally, the students may benefit from your perceptions of their overall communication skills and ease of asking these questions about your memory and performance skills. For example, was anything presented in a way that could be found offensive?

All feedback should be provided only after the student has completed the assessment. Interruptions during the assessment may increase the students' anxiety and reduce their overall performance.

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