Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 17, Issue 9, pp 704–708 | Cite as

Teaching pre-clinical medical students an integrated approach to medical interviewing

Half-day workshops using actors
  • Auguste H. FortinEmail author
  • Frederick D. Haeseler
  • Nancy Angoff
  • Liza Cariaga-Lo
  • Matthew S. Ellman
  • Luz Vasquez
  • Laurie Bridger
Innovations In Education And Clinical Practice


Teaching medical students to integrate patient-centered skills into the medical interview is challenging. Longitudinal training requires significant curricular and faculty time. Unsupervised students risk harm if they uncover and inappropriately manage psychosocial issues in actual patients. They fear saying the wrong thing in emotionally charged situations. Two half-day workshops for pre-clinical students integrate patient- and physician-centered interviewing. The first occurs early in the first year. The second, late in the second year, presents interview challenges (e.g., breaking bad news). Ten professional actors portray standardized patients (SPs). Groups of 10 to 15 students interview an SP, each eliciting a part of the patient’s story. Qualitative evaluation revealed that, for many students, SPs afford the opportunity to experiment without harming real patients. Students view the workshops as effective (mean score for first-year students, 6.6 [standard deviation (SD), 1.0], second-year students, 7.1 [SD, 0.7] on a Likert-type scale: 1=not at all effective to 8=very effective).

Key words

physician-patient relations communication curriculum teaching methods interview methods patient-centered care education, medical 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Auguste H. Fortin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Frederick D. Haeseler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nancy Angoff
    • 1
  • Liza Cariaga-Lo
    • 3
  • Matthew S. Ellman
    • 1
  • Luz Vasquez
    • 1
  • Laurie Bridger
    • 1
  1. 1.Received from the Department of MedicineYale Univeristy School of MedicineNew Haven
  2. 2.Office of EducationYale University School of MedicineNew Haven
  3. 3.Office of Multicultural AffairsYale University School of MedicineNew Haven

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