The effect of using standardized patients or peer role play on ratings of undergraduate communication training: A randomized controlled trial.
Author(s): Bosse HM, Schultz JH, Nickel M, Lutz T, Moltner A, Junger J, Huwendiek S, Nikendei C
Affiliation(s): Clinic for General Pediatrics, Centre for Child and Adolescent Medicine, University Hospital Dusseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany; Clinic for General Pediatrics, Centre for Child and Adolescent Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
Publication date & source: 2011-11-30, Patient Educ Couns., [Epub ahead of print]
OBJECTIVES: Considering the expense of standardized patients (SP) for training communication skills and the convenience of peer role playing (RP) there is a surprising lack of studies directly comparing the two methods. METHODS: Fifth year medical students (N=103) were assigned to three groups receiving a training in counseling parents of sick children with RP (N=34) or SP (N=35) or to a control group (CG, N=34). We assessed self-efficacy, as well as objective performance in parent-physician communication using questionnaires and the Calgary-Cambridge-Observation-Guide Checklist in a six-station OSCE, respectively. RESULTS: The training led to an increase in self-efficacy ratings and in the post-intervention OSCE score after RP (p<.021 and p<.001 respectively) and SP-training (p<.007 and p<.006 respectively) compared to controls. Surprisingly, this benefit was higher after RP than after SP-training (p<.021) due to significantly higher performance in the domain understanding of parents'perspective (p<.001). CONCLUSION: Both RP and SP are valuable tools for training specific communication skills. RP offer a methodological advantage in fostering empathy for patient perspectives. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Both peer-role-play and standardized patients hold specific benefits for communication training. Peer-role-play seems to foster a more empathic approach towards patients' concerns justifying its prominent role in medical curricula. Copyright (c) 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.