Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 180–183 | Cite as

Teaching the Mental Status Examination to Medical Students by Using a Standardized Patient in a Large Group Setting

  • Catherine A. Birndorf
  • Marsha E. Kaye
Brief Report


The authors describe their recent experience in using a standardized patient (SP) to illustrate the mental status examination (MSE) to 170 second-year medical students in a large classroom setting. An SP was trained to portray a patient with schizophrenia who was interviewed during the MSE lecture. A six-question survey was distributed to the students to evaluate how the students felt about the learning experience. Results show that the majority of students felt that using an SP in a large classroom setting helped them to understand the material better and was a useful teaching tool. Follow-up studies are under way to objectively measure students’ integration and retention of the lecture material.


Medical Student Academic Psychiatry Standardize Patient Real Patient Lecture Material 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Barrows HS: An overview of the uses of standardized patients for teaching and evaluation of clinical skills. Acad Med 1993; 68: 443–451PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ainsworth MA, Rogers LP, Markus JF, et al: Standardized patient encounters: a method for teaching and evaluation. JAMA 1991; 266: 1390–1396PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wallace P: Following the threads of an innovation: the history of standardized patients in medical education. Caduceus 1997; 13(2): 5–28PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Stillman P, Regan MB, Philbin M, et al: Results of a survey on the use of standardized patients to teach and evaluate clinical skills. Acad Med 1990; 65: 288–292PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Clay M, Lane H, Willis SE, et al: Using a standardized family to teach clinical skills to medical students. Teaching and Learning in Medicine 2000; 12: 145–149PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Vannatta JB, Smith KR, Crandall S, et al: Comparison of standardized patients and faculty teaching medical interviewing. Acad Med 1996; 71: 1360–1362PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sachdeva A: Impact of a standardized patient intervention to teach breast and abdominal examination skills to third-year medical students at two institutions. Am J Surg 1997; 173: 320–325PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Eyler AE, Oh M: Teaching smoking cessation counseling to medical students using simulated patients. Am J Prev Med 1997; 13: 153–157PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rubenstein R, Niccolini R, Zara J, et al: The use of live simulation in teaching the mental status examination to medical students. J Med Educ 1979; 54: 663–665PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Pohl R, Lewis R, Niccolini R, et al: Teaching the mental status examination: comparison of three methods. J Med Educ 1982; 57: 626–629PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Collins JP, Harden RM: AMEE Medical Education Guide No. 13: Real Patients, Simulated Patients and Simulators in Clinical Examinations. Medical Teacher 1998; 20: 508–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Swartz M, Colliver J: Using standardized patients for assessing clinical performance. Mt Sinai J Med 1996; 63: 241–249PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hodges B, Regehr G, Hanson M, et al: An objective structured clinical examination for evaluating psychiatric clinical clerks. Acad Med 1997; 72: 715–721PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Vu NV, Barrows HS, Marcy ML, et al: Six years of comprehensive clinical performance-based assessment using standardized patients at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Acad Med 1992; 67: 42–50PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tamblyn R, Abrahamowicz M, Berkson L, et al: Assessment of performance in the office setting with standardized patients. Acad Med 1992; 67: S22–S24PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesNorthwestern University, The Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.The Feinberg School of Medicine, Clinical Education and Evaluation Center of the Office of Medical Education and Faculty DevelopmentNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations