Clinical Skills Assessment Center


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  • Standardized Patients

    Student interactions with Standardized Patients (SP) at University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Clinical Skills Assessment Center (CSAC) are a vital part of the school's educational program. Standardized Patient encounters complement students’ classroom and clinical experiences. SPs serve as a resource for active learning, and are valuable in assessment of students’ skills in interviewing, the physical examination, counseling, and documentation. Most valuable is their ability to provide learners with immediate feedback.

    What is a Standardized Patient?

    A Standardized Patient is a trained “simulated patient” or a “patient actor” who portrays the role of someone who comes to see a doctor or other health care provider. The SP is trained to portray someone with a certain background, personality, medical problems and concerns.

    SPs are used to both teach and evaluate students' skills in different clinical situations. SPs provide our students the opportunity to practice their communication, history-taking, physical examination and diagnostic skills. The student might be asked to conduct an interview and take a medical history. Often, a student is asked to perform a physical examination based on the patient’s problem. The student might be asked to counsel a patient about a medical condition or procedure. Additionally, students practice documenting the patient encounter for the medical record.

    Most of the time, an SP is asked to wear a hospital gown for a heart, lung or abdominal exam. Usually these encounters with students are done on a one-to-one basis, and they are videotaped so that faculty can also evaluate students' skills and give them feedback. The patient is draped for modesty and comfort. Invasive exams are not done in the clinical skills assessment center.

    CSAC faculty and staff work closely with SPs to prepare for each session with students. SPs are trained to act out a particular case, rate the student’s performance in the required task, and further, they are carefully trained to give the student constructive feedback in order for the student to learn and improve clinical skills.

    SP program at CSAC

    The University Mississippi School of Medicine's Standardized Patient program is located at the Clinical Skills Assessment Center, Suite 2515A, Jackson Medical Mall, 350 W. Woodrow Wilson Drive, Jackson, MS, 39216.

    The CSAC serves students in the School of Medicine and other health professional schools on campus. A member institution of the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE), the SP program is administered through the School of Medicine Office of Academic Affairs, which is responsible for student assessment, curriculum development and evaluation, faculty development and program evaluation.

    Contact us

    To find out more about CSAC's Standardized Patient program, to arrange for consultation about how our center can serve your training program or to set up a training session, please contact our center. 

    • Clinical Skills Assessment Center 
              University of Mississippi Medical Center 
              Jackson Medical Mall, Suite 2515A 
              350 W. Woodrow Wilson Drive 
              Jackson, MS 39213 
              Phone: (601) 815-4779
              Fax: (601) 601-815-5290
    • Judy Gearhart, MD, Professor and Director
              E-mail: jgearhart@umc.edu
    • Deborah Newell, Administrative Support Coordinator 
              Phone: (601) 815-4779
              E-mail: dnewell@umc.edu