Having worked with Mr. Bell (featured in this article linked above), this was a great behind-the-scenes look.
The idea of using “Standardized Patients” is wonderful and I’m always grateful and impressed by the actors’ abilities and contributions, but it does raise questions as to how much actual simulation occurs in these artificial settings. Having had the opportunity to work in an outpatient clinic for a year, I have to admit that the Standardized Patient experience pales in comparison to working with real patients. Of course, we don’t go into these encounters expecting an exact replica. However, I’ve noticed that it’s hard for me to replicate the real emotions and situational dilemmas that come from dealing with actual patients and their palpable plights. I always have to consciously trick myself during simulations into thinking the patient story is real, or else my interaction with the Standardized Patient feels forced, likely affecting my overall communication. With that, I’m looking forward to being on the wards in the next few months, though definitely feeling quite apprehensive, and dealing with real patients who are not scripted.