Deliberate Practice with Standardized Patient Actors and the Development of Formative Feedback for Advance Care Planning Facilitators

J Palliat Med. 2017 Jun;20(6):631-637. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2016.0431. Epub 2017 Jan 13.


Objective: Multimodal curricular assessment after adding standardized patient (SP) actor-based simulation to an advance care planning (ACP) facilitator training course and development of a formative feedback tool.

Background: ACP represents a highly valued service requiring more and better trained facilitators.

Methods: Participants were primarily nurses and social workers in a large multisite health system. The course included a precourse video demonstration of ACP, traditional lectures, and four 30-minute simulations with SPs. Knowledge was tested with a multiple choice question (MCQ) test. In addition to standard postcourse/postsimulation evaluations, learners were surveyed pre/post/30-90 days delayed for self-perceived confidence. A linear mixed-effects model was used to analyze changes over time. Trained faculty rated performance in simulations with an observational mini-clinical examination (mini-CEX)-type rating form with a checklist, global competency, and global communication rating. Inter-rater reliability (IRR) was calculated on randomly selected paired ratings.

Results: Sixty-seven individuals consented to participate. MCQ scores improved from 83% ± 10% to 92% ± 8% (p < 0.001). Paired learner surveys of self-confidence across six domains were available for 65 pre, 65 post, and 40 delayed with a mean positive change on a 0 to 10 point scale from pre-post (2.32 ± 1.65; p < 0.001) and predelayed (2.34 ± 1.96; p < 0.001) time frames. For the faculty observation ratings of simulation performance, the average raw agreement for critical actions was 82% and IRR was 0.71.

Conclusions: Learner feedback and self-assessment suggest that actor-based simulation contributed to improved confidence in conducting ACP. The mini-CEX observation form is adequate for formative feedback, with further testing needed to make judgments of competence.

Keywords: advance care planning; deliberate practice; end of life; facilitation; simulation; standardized patient actor.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advance Care Planning*
  • Educational Measurement* / methods
  • Female
  • Formative Feedback*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observation
  • Patient Simulation*
  • Reproducibility of Results