Clinical Skills Lab


The Clinical Skills Laboratory is designed for teaching and assessing learners at all levels, from first-year medical and nursing students to senior resident physicians and staff utilizing standardized patients. The lab provides learners with the ideal setting to practice the clinical skills of history taking, physical examination, communication, and interpersonal skills. The simulated patient encounters transition students from the classroom to real patient contact in safe environments.

Encounters with specially trained individuals, known as standardized patients (SPs), simulate specific challenges in outpatient, inpatient and critical care settings. Close to 400 adults, children, infants from professional actors, retired teachers to laypersons make up the pool of SPs.

First year medical and graduate nursing students learn how to take medical histories from SP’s. Second year students add the physical examination to their patient encounters. Third year medical students use SP’s to test their specialty skills on different clinical rotations such as Pediatrics, OB-GYN, Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Surgery.

Clinical cases are created through research and extensive training of the patients portraying these roles. The simulation can also include makeup or “moulage” to simulate an illness or injury. Even a patient’s real-life medical condition can be used to enhance the educational experience. Each exam room is equipped with two video cameras and microphones to record the encounter. An observation area at the center of the lab allows faculty and students to observe the encounters live or view digital recordings for subsequent analysis. When a clinical examination is completed both student and patient complete an assessment of the event. Standardized patients play secondary roles in events taking place in the Virtual Medical Environments Lab as family members, medical personnel or additional injured patients during combat and disaster simulations. These Hybrid Simulations combine task trainers with live people.