Training and evaluating tobacco-specific standardized patient instructors

Fam Med. 2006 Jan;38(1):28-37.


Background and objectives: A comprehensive training program to develop tobacco-specific standardized patient instructors (SPIs) was implemented and evaluated at Wake Forest University.

Methods: Descriptive statistics were used to assess SPIs' experience with the training program and medical students' perceptions of the SPI-student interaction. Two standardized scales, used to assess student performance on counseling (Tobacco Intervention Risk Factor Interview Scale [TIRFIS]) and cultural competency (Tobacco Beliefs Management Scale-Tobacco Cultural Concerns Scale [TBMS-TCCS]), were tested for internal and interrater reliability and sensitivity to varied student performance. Costs of the program were measured.

Results: SPIs highly rated the content, organization, and presenters of the training program. Medical students positively evaluated their experience with the SPIs. The TIRFIS and TBMS-TCCS subscales demonstrated good internal reliability, and inconsistencies in ratings by different SPIs were minimal. In addition, a range of scores on both measures attest to the sensitivity of the instruments to assess variations in student performance. Significant start-up costs are associated with developing this training program, although costs decline when SPIs are retained long term.

Conclusions: The SPI training program was effective in developing a cohort of knowledgeable and reliable SPIs to train medical students in ways to improve their tobacco intervention counseling skills. Retaining SPIs long term should be a primary goal of implementing a cost-effective, successful training program.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Faculty, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Students, Medical