How are SPs Used at Penn Med?

At Penn Med, we use SPs in a variety of programs that are expanding yearly to serve learners across the medical education continuum: undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education. Some of our programs teach new skills, some provide opportunities to practice and refresh skills, and some are tests designed to evaluate learners’ performance.

For more information on specific SP programs and educational topics, click here.

At Penn Med, we typically implement our SP programs in the following formats:

One-on-one: These cases usually teach or test interpersonal, history-taking, physical exam, and diagnostic skills. They take place either in the classroom or in clinical exam rooms. They often require the SP to fill out a checklist after the encounter. These cases may or may not have a physical exam component, and they may or may not require the SP to provide the student with feedback after the encounter.

Small group: This format is used for teaching both interpersonal and physical exam skills. The SP goes into a room of 3-12 medical students with 1-3 faculty members. These cases require the SP to offer feedback to the students.

Large group: Some cases involve one SP being interviewed and/or examined by a physician in front of an entire class of medical students, around 150 students.