NY Clinical Skills Prep Utilizes SP “On Demand” Service to Aid Medical Students & Professionals

Today New York Clinical Skills Prep’s (NYCSPREP) Standardized Patient Eric Brown writes in to share about how the group is utilizing simulation through Standardized Patient engagements to help medical students and professionals. If you are a simulation program looking to expand your Standardized Patient learning opportunities to internal programs or, if you are considering the expansion of your program into external offerings for revenue generation – then this is the article for you! Their goal is to be the leading focused-approach review and training center for USMLE Steps and to provide quality US Clinical Experience (USCE) to medical students and professionals worldwide. What’s fascinating is they are a completely private organization specifically catering to external clients — what a fantastic and unique business model!

About New York Clinical Skills Prep

The NYCSPREP faculty is comprised of a group of practicing MDs who are passionate about teaching. Gleaning from their experience of seeing ‘Real’ patients, they have developed an effective three day workshop, which addresses all of the core competencies of the USMLE Step 2 CS exam. They have a specially designed facility in New York designed uniquely for external learner groups. They offer simulated practice at their brand new facility, which is designed to mimic the real test center and ideal to practice with other students. NYCSPREP also has the ability for you to hire professional Standardized Patients to simulate learning engagements in private one-to-one sessions!


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The group boasts a 97% pass rate with over 4000 medical students and physicians trained — so certainly their track record of of success is proven! The ability to provide quality training to SPs is a core requirement to that success. Better trained SPs provide better patient presentations and evaluative outcomes. In other words, the more you can invest in your SP training program, the better the medical student outcomes will be for your exams. That’s probably why NYCSPREP is affiliated with several medical schools who appreciate the value of their SP training programs and trust them to prepare their students for test day.

More About Standardized Patients

NYCSPREP showcases their Standardized Patients role at the facility. Standardized patients, who play the role of actual patients, perform an important role in the medical student’s practical education at NYCSPREP providing the opportunity to directly experience the interview and physical examination process. These SPs are in essence actors who have undergone extensive training to reliably and consistently portray healthcare problems and then to aid in the evaluation of the students who examine them. They may critique student interviewing, physical examination and interpersonal skills; teach parts of the examination; or provide feedback to the students on specific patient situations. Some standardized patients may be trained for non-medical simulations or to assist with support roles, such as a spouse or adult child, during projects.


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Sps generally put in several hours of training and rehearsal for each case before working with learners. Many projects include learning to simulate physical symptoms, like abdominal pain, back pain, fatigue, stroke or heart attack. Sometimes SPs deliver serious and difficult-to-hear information, such as the death of a loved one, likelihood of recovery, or discovery of an abnormal genetic or metabolic problem, before medical students have to deliver such news to real patients. All cases come from real patient experiences.

Competency Goals for Standardized Patient Learning Simulated Experiences (As recommended by NYCSPREP via AAMC.org)

  1. Build and maintain effective rapport with patients
    1. Greet the patient warmly
    2. Open the discussion using open-ended questions
    3. Ensure patient readiness, privacy and comfort
    4. Maintain eye contact at comfortable intervals throughout the interview
    5. Maintain open body posture
    6. Use plain language: avoid medical jargon, complex words and compound sentences
    7. Maintain a respectful tone
    8. Listen and observe carefully
    9. Respond appropriately to patients’ needs, expectations, and concerns during the interview / encounter
    10. Close the patient encounter appropriately
    11. Effectively elicit questions from the patient if appropriate
  2. Demonstrate patient-centered communication
    1. Elicit the patient’s story without bias
    2. Elicit the patient’s entire agenda
    3. Elicit the patient’s perspective of his/her health problem(s)
    4. Elicit socio-cultural, economic, and spiritual beliefs that could influence patients’ choices and access to care
    5. Elicit physical, psychological, financial, and other quality of life consequences of living with a chronic condition when appropriate
    6. Elicit and validate patient’s feelings about his/her illness
  3. Summarize and check for accuracy of content
    1. Communicate with culturally diverse patients
    2. Give examples of the impact of cultural and language barriers on patient-physician communication
    3. Identify cultural variations in patient’s explanatory model of illness
    4. Know when and how to access appropriate interpretation services
    5. Know how to properly use an interpreter
  4. Establish, build, and maintain proper relationships with patients’ families
    1. Identify situations when a family interview is appropriate
    2. Clarify the identity of visitors in a patient’s room
    3. Clarify whether the patient wishes for family members to be present during the interview
    4. Conduct an interview with a patient’s family member(s) present
    5. Ask family members to leave the room during sensitive parts of the interview.
  5. Establish proper communication and collaboration with others in all professional settings
    1. Communicate effectively with peers, medical school staff and faculty, and other members of the health care team (nurses, hospital/clinic staff, allied health professionals, etc.)

Association for Standardized Patient Educators

Are you looking for more SP resources for your simulation program? Be sure to learn more about the ASPE organization, the international organization of simulation educators dedicated to:

  • Promoting best practices in the application of SP methodology for education, assessment and research
  • Fostering the dissemination of research and scholarship in the field of SP methodology
  • Advancing the professional knowledge and skills of its members

Learn More About the Standardized Patient Training Program at NYCSPREP’s Website!


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