Keeping it Real—Using Standardized Patients to Improve Learning Outcomes


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Educational methodologies that involve active learning applied in authentic contexts is more likely to be retained and applied by learners (Herge, et al., 2013). Creative learning activities that include simulation provide learners with the opportunity to practice clinical skills in a controlled setting. Learners have the benefit of feedback regarding their performance, which is not always possible in clinical settings (Issenberg et al., 1999). This presentation will highlight two different simulation activities designed to support student learning of clinical assessment skills in physical therapy and occupational therapy curriculums. Physical therapy students evaluate standardized patients using the standardized “Senior Fitness Test”(Rikli &Jones, 2013); occupational therapy students evaluate standardized patients for wheeled mobility. The process for designing simulation learning activities, successes and challenges, and preliminary outcomes related to student satisfaction and student performance of clinical skills in these two activities will be shared.

E. Adel Herge, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Dr. Herge is an Associate Professor and Director of the Combined BSMS OT Program in the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Jefferson School of Health Professions. Dr. Herge also serves as the Director of Health Professions Simulation in the University Clinical Skills and Simulation Center. In this role she is responsible for supporting simulation activities developed and led by faculty champions in JSHP.

Leigh Ann Hewston, PT, MEd, CEEAA

Ms. Hewston is an Assistant Professor in Physical Therapy in the Jefferson School of Health Professions. She teaches in the content areas of Geriatrics, Cardiopulmonary and the electrical and physical modalities. Ms. Hewston is a faculty member in JCIPE and was on the team that developed the original Health Mentor Program. She is a participant in the Geriatric Education Center where she contributes to learning modules, grand rounds presentations and an interprofessional falls assessment clinic. Ms. Hewston is part of an interprofessional research team that recently received funding from the NIA for a project for patients with heart failure. In addition, she hopes to play an integral part in bringing a medical oriented gym (MOG) to the Jefferson Community.

Kimberly Mollo, MS, OTR/L

Ms. Mollo is Instructor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Jefferson School of Health Professions. She earned the MS degree in Occupational Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in 2005. Ms. Mollo is directly involved in several evaluation and intervention patient simulations within the OT curriculum and serves as an active member on the department’s Simulation Planning Committee. Her research interests include use of complementary and alternative practices in health care; use of yoga, breathwork, and meditation to manage acute and chronic health conditions in pediatric and adult populations; and working with adolescents with executive functioning concerns.



1. Describe how simulation is used in pre-licensure education in a variety of disciplines.

2. Examine the challenges and benefits to integrating simulation activities into a course.

3. Apply strategies to integrate simulation learning activities in attendees’ curriculum.

Presentation: 44 minutes

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