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Clinical Skills Center

Located in the Setnor Academic Building, The Clinical Skills Center includes 22 exam rooms, closed-circuit monitoring, and state-of-the-art medical equipment. In this space students shape their "bedside manner" and clinical skills.

In the Clinical Skills Center, students practice taking medical histories and performing exams on "standardized patients" or actors role-playing as patients. The meeting between physician and patient takes place just as it does in the doctor's office. An instructor can watch the exchange between patient and physician from a nearby video monitor room. Later, the student and instructor can view the video and discuss ways to improve exam skills and communication with the patient.

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How the Clinical Skills Center Works

The ring of 22 Exam Rooms in the Clinical Skills Center are fully equipped. In each room is a computer station for Standardized Patients to complete checklists and write feedback from a patient perspective.

Outside the exam rooms in the exterior hallway is a computer station for each exam room, where learners read the patient information before entering and return to complete a post-encounter activity, such as reading lab results or writing a note on their findings for the patient’s chart. This all takes place using a sophisticated computerized system.

Standardized Patients enter and exit the Exam Rooms into the central Standardized Patient Staging Area, so they can prepare for exams and switch between rooms without being seen by the students. This area also provides space to conduct extensive Standardized Patient training. On average, a Standardized Patient will go through 4-10 hours of training per case, depending on the complexity of the case.

The Monitor Room gives faculty observers the chance to watch and listen in on a student's patient encounters via live or recorded video feed. They can also complete a checklist on the student's performance and write feedback. Later, students can view their checklists, typed feedback, and videos from the Monitor Room.

All 22 exam rooms--each equipped with 2 ceiling-mounted video cameras and microphones--can be observed from the Master Control Room. Here, Standardized Patient Program staff can monitor individual rooms, announce time reminders, control the start of video recording, and chart the students' progress through their encounters.

Setnor Academic Building

The newly constructed Setnor Academic Building celebrated its grand opening in 2007. Planned by a steering committee of students and faculty from all four colleges at Upstate (Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing), the building’s design benefited from visits to and reviews of other clinical skills teaching facilities across the country.

In addition to a floor devoted to the Clinical Skills Center, the building features flexible teaching space that can be used for many different needs as curriculum evolves. Six classrooms offer spaces that can work for a class of 60 or a group of 25. Five of these can be divided with the touch of a switch, and three have multiple alcoves for small-group demonstration of physical exams. State-of-the art technological support is available throughout the building, including wireless access and LCD projectors. The building also features an office suite for faculty in the Practice of Medicine course.

The glass atrium, called the "Winter Commons," brings in an abundance of natural light and connects the new building to Weiskotten Hall. The atrium space and furnishings invite informal study groups or interaction with faculty. A bridge over the atrium at the third-floor level connects to a renovated classroom corridor of Weiskotten Hall, creating a natural collection of rooms perfect for conferences.

The Medical Alumni Association is located on the first floor of Setnor, close to the main entrance on Irving Street. The office is easily accessible to alumni visiting campus and to students using the Career Advisory Network.

Simulators in Clinical Skills Education

What is Medical Simulation?

Simulation is a training and feedback method in which learners practice tasks and processes in life-like circumstances using models or virtual reality, with feedback from observers, peers, actor-patients, and video cameras to assist improvement in skills. Computer-based medical simulation provides a realistic and economical set of tools to improve and maintain the skills of health care providers adding a valuable dimension to medical training similar to professional training in aviation, defense, maritime, and nuclear energy. Medical simulators allow individuals to review and practice procedures as often as required to reach proficiency without harming the patient.

Simulation-based Medical Education (SBME) includes several tools and approaches:

  • A full environment simulator is similar to flight simulators used to train pilots. The pilot is immersed in a complete replica of the cockpit environment. In medicine, sophisticated mannequins, known as patient simulators provides health care professionals with a computer-based patient that breathes, responds to drugs, talks, and drives all the clinical monitors in the operating room, e.g., blood pressure and pulse rate.
  • Task trainers provide a simulated subset of functionality, such as how to give a smallpox inoculation or how to insert a chest tube.
  • Computer-based training provides software programs that train and assess clinical knowledge and decision-making skills.
  • Simulated/standardized patients allow students to interact with actors trained to act as patients providing students with valuable feedback on, among other things, bedside manner.

Medical simulation is a cross-disciplinary effort that brings together providers, including nurses, physicians, and allied health professionals across a variety of disciplines with computer scientists, researchers, educators, and human factors engineers.

Exam Room
Monitor Room