First-year ICOM students work with standardized patients to improve bedside manner

First-year ICOM students work with standardized patients
Posted at 4:38 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 19:10:03-05

MERIDIAN  — First year medical students at Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, like Albert Nakayama, are practicing their bedside manner with patients.

"So much of the diagnosis and so much of understanding whats going on with them is building a relationship with them and making them feel comfortable," said Nakayama.

Patients being professionals who've undergone an extensive interview and training process to act out a script.

"We have people from the acting community, we have retired teachers, we actively working nurses, we have retired nurses, we have a retired physician," said director of simulation Casi Myers.

While the student doctors are interacting with patients over here, they're actually being recorded over here. Each interaction is observed by their professors. Practicing with standardized patients is fairly routine among medical schools, but ICOM tries to give their students a head-start.

"Our students were in here week 3 of the curriculum so they didn't have a lot of clinical knowledge under their belts but they were coming in learning how to talk to patient," said Myers, "as they progress through the year, they get more and more information, the cases get harder, they start seeing lab values, they start seeing x-rays,"

Not only does the faculty grade students on their medical knowledge and assessment skills, the standardized patient grades them too. They evaluate each student on their verbal & non-verbal connection.

"When you're in a patient role, you have a vulnerability that's here, and so you seek interactions with providers that make you feel comfortable, like they have empathy towards you, compassion," said standardized patient Becky Williams.

Students and patients only get 14 minutes to interact with one another, but focusing on the communication now means better preparedness for future doctors.

"This is such a unique experience for medical student, a lot of students don't get patient interactions in the first year, so they go to clinical sites their second two years and and its just totally new for them, so us having this opportunity is a huge blessing," said Nakayama.