Skip to main content

Broader Applications of Communication: Using the Human Body for Teaching and Assessment

Part of the Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation book series (CHS)


Standardized Patients can be trained and utilized as educators in realms that reach beyond the commonly used communication. These expanded applications are rooted in the communication training that an SP receives in your program. Consider the utilization of SPs to instruct and assess learners in their communication and physical exam skills. Depending on the cases you already employ this may not be far from your current implementation. The true expansion into additional applications begins with your inclusion of instruction or assessment sessions explicitly aimed to evaluate the physical examination skills. During this chapter you will find information about the recruitment, hiring, and training of Physical Exam Teaching Associates (PETA), Gynecological Teaching Associates (GTA), and Male Urogenital Teaching Associates (MUTA), as well as the design and implementation of these programs within a simulation center. Each of these rolls includes additional extensive training to instruct, facilitate learning, and assess the participants in the sessions. Every program will utilize these roles differently and therefore you will find separate considerations for the design and implementation of sessions based on their intended design. These may include sessions used to instruct learners on new physical exam techniques and sessions used for either formative or summative assessments.


  • Standardized Patient/Standardized Patient (SP)
  • Gynecological Teaching Associate (GTA)
  • Male Urogenital Teaching Associate (MUTA)
  • Physical Exam Teaching Associate (PETA)
  • Genitourinary Teaching Associate (GUTA)
  • Instruction
  • Training
  • Assessment
  • Development
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Physical exam
  • Recruitment
  • Hiring
  • ASPE
  • Standards of best practices

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD   79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD   99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Learn about institutional subscriptions



Association of Standardized Patient Educators


Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination.


Gynecological Teaching Associate


Genitourinary Teaching Associate


International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation & Learning


Male Urological Teaching Associate


Obstetrics and Gynecology


Objective Structured Clinical Examination


Physical Examination Teaching Associate


Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time-bound


subject matter expert


Standards of Best Practice


Standardized/Simulated Patient


Standardized Patient Educator


Society for Simulation in Healthcare


Teaching Associate


United States Medical Licensing Examination


  1. Lopreiato JO (editor), Downing D, Gammon W, Lioce L, Sittner B, Slot V, Spain AE (Associate editors) and the Terminology & Concepts Working Group. Healthcare simulation dictionary. 2016. Retrieved from

  2. Kretzschmar RM. Evolution of the gynecology teaching associate: an education specialist. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1978;131(4):367–73.

    CrossRef  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Lewis KL, Bohnert CA, Gammon WL, et al. The Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) standards of best practice (SOBP). Adv Simul. 2017;2(10)

  4. Nelson LH. Use of professional patients in teaching pelvic examinations. Obstet Gynecol. 1978;52(5):630–3.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Kretzschmar RM, Guthrie DS. Why not every school? J Am Med Womens Assoc. 1984;39(2):43–5.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Costanza ME, Luckmann R, Quirk ME, Clemow L, White MJ, Stoddard AM. The effectiveness of using standardized patients to improve community physician skills in mammography counseling and clinical breast exam. Prev Med. 1999;29(4):241–8.

    CrossRef  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Theroux R, Pearce C. Graduate students’ experiences with standardized patients as adjuncts for teaching pelvic examinations. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2006;18(9):429–35.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Pradhan A, Ebert G, Brug P, Swee D, Ananth CV. Evaluating pelvic examination training: does faculty involvement make a difference? A randomized controlled trial. Teach Learn Med. 2010;22(4):293–7.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Grankvist O, Olofsson AD, Isaksson RM. Can physicians be replaced with gynecological teaching women to train medical students in their first pelvic examination? A pilot study from Northern Sweden. Patient Educ Couns. 2014;96(1):50–4.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Kleinman DE, Hage ML, Hoole AJ, Kowlowitz V. Pelvic examination instruction and experience: a comparison of laywoman-trained and physician-trained students. Acad Med. 1996;71(11):1239–43.

    CrossRef  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Godkins TR, Duffy D, Greenwood J, Stanhope WD. Utilization of simulated patients to teach the routine pelvic examination. J Med Educ. 1974;49(12):1174–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Bokken L, Rethans JJ, Scherpbier A, van der Vleuten C. Strengths and weaknesses of simulated and real patients in the teaching of skills to medical students: a review. Simul Healthc. 2008;3(3):161–9.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Beckmann CRB, Sharf BF, Barzansky BM, Spellacy WN. Student response to gynecologic teaching associates. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986;155(2):301–6.

    CrossRef  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Carr SE, Carmody D. Outcomes of teaching medical students core skills for women’s health: the pelvic examination educational programs. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004;190:1382–7.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Guenther SM, Laube DW, Matthes S. Effectiveness of the gynecology teaching associate in teaching pelvic examination skills. J Med Educ. 1983;58:67–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Hale RW, Schiner W. Professional patients: an improved method of teaching breast and pelvic examination. J Reprod Med. 1977;19(3):163–6.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Nelson LH. Use of professional patients in teaching pelvic examinations. Obstet Gynecol. 1978;52(5):630–3.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Jhja V, Setna Z, Al-Hity A, Quinton ND, Roberts TE. Patient involvement in teaching and assessing intimate examination skills: a systematic review. Med Educ. 2010;44:347–57.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  19. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Glossary [Internet]. Available from:

  20. Hasle JL, Anderson DS, Szerlip HM. Analysis of the costs and benefits of using standardized patietns to help teach physical diagnosis. Acad Med. 1994;69(7):567–70.

    CrossRef  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Siwe K, Wijma K, Stjernquist M, Wijma B. Medical students learning the pelvic examination: comparison of outcome in terms of skills between a professional patient and a clinical patient model. Patient Educ Couns. 2007;68(3):211–7.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chelsea Weaks .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Weaks, C., Hopkins, H., Lyman, L., George, S.W. (2020). Broader Applications of Communication: Using the Human Body for Teaching and Assessment. In: Gliva-McConvey, G., Nicholas, C.F., Clark, L. (eds) Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Implementing Best Practices in Standardized Patient Methodology. Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-43825-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-43826-5

  • eBook Packages: MedicineMedicine (R0)