Medical school is an exciting time, to be sure, but it’s what comes after you graduate—during the times you’ll be meeting with patients, diagnosing them, and recommending plans of action—that really defines what it means to be a physician. At American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), you’ll get to dive into this patient-to-physician experience as early as the first semester through the Introduction to Clinical Medicine’s (ICM) Standardized Patient Program.


After Medical School, You’ll Need More Than Just Knowledge

“In the real world of healthcare, medical knowledge isn’t enough. Great physicians treat patients, not diseases, and so must have a strong sense of professionalism, interpersonal skills, and empathy,’ said Heidi Chumley, MD, executive dean and chief academic officer.
AUC’s ICM curriculum was developed with this philosophy in mind. It bridges the medical sciences curriculum with clinical training with a focus on patient-centered care. The Standardized Patient Program supports this by connecting students with simulated patients in a high-fidelity, high-touch academic learning environment.

Using Sophisticated Technology to Make Medical School Even More Hands-On

The simulation center and clinical skills training lab is located in AUC’s newly opened medical education building. Opened in 2014, the building ushered in a new era of learning at AUC by combining advanced technology with existing outstanding faculty support. It also houses the anatomy lab and a 400-seat auditorium, as well as faculty offices and additional study and learning spaces for students.

 “Our students are exposed to clinical training as early as the first semester, with an increased emphasis as they progress through the program,” said Sarah McCarty, MD, department chair and professor of clinical medicine. “This gives them the opportunity to experience the clinical application of medical sciences well before they step through the doors of one of our affiliated hospitals in the U.S., Canada, or in the U.K.”
Grzegorz Plochocki, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine, leads small-group exercises in the simulation center using the Harvey Cardiac Patient Simulators and SimMan® 3G Manikins. Students cultivate hands-on bedside cardiac assessment skills through interactions with the Harveys, and practice assessment of neurological and physiological symptoms displayed by the SimMan.

Students Get Clinical Experience, Learn Bedside Manner Tactics

Loes Nauta, director of the Standardized Patient Program, has played an instrumental role in developing it into the valuable learning experience it is today. “Using my theater and acting background coupled with ASPE methodology, we have created a dynamic standardized patient program,” said Mrs. Nauta. “Through small-group sessions, students learn how to talk with patients, how to be empathetic. They practice interviewing techniques which allow them to learn as much as they can about the patient. We emphasize the importance of establishing a rapport with patients versus relying on technology to take care of them.”
To increase the fidelity of the experience, Mrs. Nauta has grown the pool of standardized patients to almost 50 by seeking volunteers through AUC’s Student Spouses’ Association and the wider St. Maarten community. In an effort to continually improve the student experience, Mrs. Nauta regularly attends industry conferences and keeps up to date with patient simulation research through the Association of Standardized Patient Encounters (ASPE), an international organization for professionals in the field of simulated and standardized patient methodology.


Tiara Brewster

Posted April 10, 2015 12:35 PM

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    8/10/2016 4:21:22 PM

    Nice article!