Graduate students’ experiences with standardized patients as adjuncts for teaching pelvic examinations
Article first published online: 31 AUG 2006
2006 American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
Volume 18, Issue 9, pages 429–435, September 2006
How to Cite
Theroux, R. and Pearce, C. (2006), Graduate students’ experiences with standardized patients as adjuncts for teaching pelvic examinations. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 18: 429–435. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2006.00158.x
- Issue published online: 31 AUG 2006
- Article first published online: 31 AUG 2006
- Received: August 2005; accepted: March 2006
- Standardized patients;
- pelvic examinations;
- nurse practitioner education;
- advanced health assessment
Purpose: To explore graduate nurse practitioner students’ perceptions of their experiences when learning to perform pelvic examinations in the laboratory and performing them in subsequent clinical rotations. One group was taught by faculty with voluntary peer examination, and the other two groups were taught by standardized patients (SPs).
Data sources: Surveys with open- and closed-ended (responses on Likert scales) items administered twice during 3 consecutive years to students enrolled in an advanced health assessment course.
Conclusions: All groups reported feeling anxious while learning pelvic exam techniques and in subsequent clinical experiences. SPs provided immediate feedback to students, decreased their feelings of anxiety, and increased their confidence in performing examinations. Students who were taught pelvic examination techniques by SPs rated their learning experiences more positively and reported a better understanding of exam techniques than students who learned to perform exams by voluntary examination of classmates.
Implications for practice: Graduate nursing programs should consider locating and using SP programs for teaching pelvic examinations in advanced health assessment courses. Although more cost-effective, voluntary peer examination was a less effective teaching method.