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Simulated Patient Interviews

Simulated patient interviews at the Center for Experiential Learning

The VPMM is offering a unique physician-like experience of directly interviewing patients in a simulated clinical environment provided by CELA (see link CELA: Meet Our Team). This opportunity was developed during the COVID epidemic because social distancing requirements prevented VPMM students from attending real clinical situations. However it also became apparent that this mechanism provides students with a unique opportunity to feel what it would be like to be an actual physician (or medical student) being the first one to interview a patient with a clinical problem. With help from the CELA team, we have developed several realistic clinical histories of common conditions that might be encountered in a doctor’s office or in the emergency department. The CELA staff then train professional actors to learn and act the part. Students then go into interview the simulated patient in pairs, one of whom conducts the interview, while the other searches the web for appropriate questions and follow up. This lasts for about 15 minutes after which students meet with a clinical faculty member who will discuss the case with them and go over relevant investigations and test results that would lead to a diagnosis. After a short break, students then interview another simulated patient and the same process is repeated with another clinical case. Each session lasts a total of 2 hours with orientation and a break. The VPMM will offer this opportunity for 8 to 16 students three to four times a year, and students will receive credit for clinical hours for this.


Students can find a how to training video on obtaining a medical history @VUbox.

Instruction on Taking a Medical History.pdf

Directions to CELA Office.pdf