Shanks and Szauter (2018) presented their poster at the ASPE 17th Annual Conference, held between 17 to 20 June 2018 at Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Their poster was awarded the first prize in the poster competition.

The aim of their pilot project was to address the gap that occurs within medical training in which learners often focus on the “disease” which negates patient-centred care. The authors believed that by engaging students in SP encounters in a longitudinal manner will help to train learners continuity in patient care. Although, students enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch have had the opportunities to engage with SPs, the encounters were often designed to mimic a “first visit”. Scenarios depict students meeting new patients, gathering information and demonstrating clinical reasoning.

To give students more opportunity to practice in follow-up patient encounters, the project required the educators involved to:

  1. Restructure existing curriculum
  2. Revise existing cases

The authors identified four out of the 9 existing cases within current curriculum that can modified to feature a single returning patient. Additional narratives were incorporated into the four cases to build a cohesive storyline for the SP. These narratives include time lapse since the last visit, age point, living situation and marital status. Three small groups from Practice of Medicine course were chosen to pilot the new curriculum.

The authors reported that one of the key challenges was to merge core case objectives with the modified linked cases. Lessons learned include:

  • The modification of existing cases to create a single patient story requires extreme attention to all case details.
  • Orienting students to the expectations and unique features of a follow-up visit is crucial.

Finally, Shanks and Szauter (2018) concluded that despite the challenges, it is possible to adapt existing curriculum to demonstrate continuity in patient care.

For more details about the project, you can contact the Amy Shanks at