Humanizing the Business of Medicine: The Use of Simulated Patients to Train Medical Students


  • Diana E. Northup


The Primary Care Curriculum of the University of New Mexico utilizes simulated patients to develop medical students’ ability to create a good doctor-patient relationship. Simulated patients are laypersons who are trained to simulate the physical signs, verbal responses, and emotional reactions of patients with particular medical conditions. These simulators provide immediate verbal feedback to students concerning their affective skills. Additionally, student skill in conducting a patient interview, performing a physical exam, problem-solving, and making management recommendations is evaluated using simulated patients. Details of the development and implementation of the simulated patient program are discussed.