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Teaching Patient Selection in Aesthetic Surgery: Use of the Standardized Patient

Rinker, Brian MD*; Donnelly, Michael PhD; Vasconez, Henry C. MD*

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31815b07b2
Aesthetic Surgery

This study evaluates the effectiveness of standardized patients for teaching patient selection in esthetic surgery. Six actors received detailed character descriptions. Each was interviewed by a resident for 30 minutes in a conference setting. Participants completed a questionnaire, and a discussion was held. Written simulations were administered before and after the sessions, from which a faculty standard was developed using hierarchical cluster analysis. Resident responses were compared with the standard using a squared euclidean metric. Residents' pre- and posttest scores were compared with the faculty standard using 2-way analysis of variance. Accuracy scores were found to be significantly lower (more accurate) after the training than before (P < 0.001). Upon a 6-item questionnaire, both faculty and residents agreed that it was a worthwhile exercise (faculty mean, 6.2 out of 7; resident, 6.3) and that the standardized patients were believable. Standardized patients can provide effective instruction in traditionally difficult-to-teach areas such as communication and patient selection.

From the *Division of Plastic Surgery and †Department of Surgery; University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Received July 27, 2007, and accepted for publication, after revision, September 12, 2007.

Financial Disclosure: The authors have no commercial associations that might pose or create a conflict of interest.

Presented as a poster at the 2007 meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Baltimore, MD, October 2007.

Reprints: Brian Rinker, MD, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Kentucky, Kentucky Clinic, K454, Lexington, KY 40536-0284. E-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.