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Rethinking the Training:

Standardized Patients and Neurological Roles for Physical Therapy Students Pamela Rock, Standardized Patient Program, University of Alberta

Background 7 different stroke roles are performed by Standardized Patients (SPs) for Physical Therapy students over eight weeks, including post-stroke rolling, sitting, transfers, balance and ambulation. The lab is followed by a multi-station OSCE with several different stroke roles and activities. Question? Is there an effective and more efficient approach to teach the SPs basic information about a stroke and have them transfer that knowledge into a specific stroke role? Issues/Concerns • Each role requires the trainer to provide the SP with general information about the condition (stroke), and specific details about the case. • It is time consuming and repetitive to train independently for each role, which is the historical training method. Results We compiled the concepts common across the stroke roles and taught them in a group workshop. Following the workshop, each SP was trained in their specific role using the historical approach. The training focused on the uniqueness of the individual role and the functional activities required for each lab. This approach allowed us to develop a foundation on which we could overlay the specifics of each individual stroke role.

• An alternate approach to training SPs may be required to suite the respective discipline. • The way we've always done it is not necessarily the best way. • Now is the best time to review your training practices.

What did we do differently? We developed a two-hour didactic & interactive workshop with a focus on: • Basic neurological terminology and concepts such as range of motion, mobility, balance and gait/ambulation and muscle strength and tone • Functional mobility implications for a person post-stroke • Ambulation with specific changes to gait pattern • Balance & posture • Coordination Following the workshop, we used the historical approach and focused the training on the specifics of each role and the activities that were required in the lab. Outcomes: • SPs benefited from understanding the "whys and hows" of the post-stroke movements patterns / concepts. This helped them integrate the consequences of the stroke into various functional movement patterns. • Enabled SPs to transition functional movements rather than just copying and memorizing a movement pattern /posture. • Because SPs were able to understand physical implications, they could portray postures and movement patterns earlier in their training. • Less time was required for reviewing basic implications of a stroke, allowing for more focus on specific role-related issues in the teaching lab. • SPs found it easier to understand the written information in the script. What's Next? • Continue to refine the present format. • Build a library of reference materials and teaching aides as tools that can be easily accessed by SPs to improve their understanding and ability to portray various neurological roles.

Health Sciences Education and Research Commons

Handout: Rethinking the Training: Standardized Patients and Neurological Roles  

Handout to accompany the research poster presented at 2010 Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) conference in Baltimore.