Standardized Colleagues: Modernizing Interprofessional Training

Monday, July 11, 2011: 3:45 PM

Hollis D. Day, MD
School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

OBJECTIVES: Describe the standardized patient teaching-learning-assessment strategy.   Design scenarios that represent authentic interprofessional interactions and communication challenges to facilitate the development of communication skills by pharmacy and nursing students. Pilot test the scenarios with pharmacy and nursing students, with the role of the physician played by a standardized colleague, to determine clarity and utility for instruction; and refine scenarios based on pilot experience. Evaluate the effectiveness of standardized colleagues as a strategy to facilitate the development of interprofessional communication skills.

METHODS:  Volunteer health professionals were trained, as standardized physician colleagues, to portray a particular professional role, attitude, and communication style in an interprofessional teaching situation with a nursing and pharmacy student and to consistently respond to and give feedback on specific student behaviors.   The standardized colleague training session included a primer on the standardized colleague teaching strategy, principles of effective interprofessional communication, principles of effective feedback, and time to learn the scripts, practice portraying the cases, and refine strategies for giving feedback on student performance. 

RESULTS:  The use of standardized colleagues resulted in significant curricular improvements to facilitate student development of skills necessary for effective communication with other health care professionals.  Active communicative engagement with a standardized colleague led to positive student practice and attitude change.

IMPLICATIONS for nursing science, patient outcomes, nursing practice, education, administration, leadership, and/or policy making:  The use of standardized colleagues is significant to nursing education in the new millennium because the simulated health professional interaction addresses crucial interprofessional practice concerns and provides students the opportunity to actively practice their response.  Standardized colleagues are a novel and engaging method for teaching interprofessional communication skills such as conflict management, co-management of patient health care conditions, and understanding the capacity of other professionals to provide care for patients.