Interprofessional Healthcare Student Training in the Care of Sexual Assault Patients Utilizing Standardized Patient Methodology

Wendy J. Lee*, Lou Clark, Kathleen Wortmann, Laura A. Taylor, Arnyce R. Pock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background The medical assessment of sexual assault (SA) is challenging because SA patients are often hesitant to disclose their medical needs, which puts them at further physical and psychological risk, and because of provider unease in conducting SA examinations. This challenge is compounded by a lack of provider training. Objectives The study goals were to develop an interprofessional simulation event that would foster SA interview skills, foster effective communication with SA patients, and increase learner confidence in assessing SA patients. Methods Participants were senior-year school of medicine (n = 165) and advanced practice registered nursing (n = 30) students (N = 195) who were enrolled in a mandatory Military Sexual Assault Assessment and Treatment course, along with data provided by trained standardized patients (SPs, n = 16) who participated in the simulation event and in assessments of learners. Measures included the Sexual Assault Interview Skills Checklist, the Essential Elements of Communication, and the Confidence in SA Assessment scale. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance and t tests at the P < 0.05 threshold. Results Postsimulation Sexual Assault Interview Skills Checklist and Essential Elements of Communication scores demonstrated an acceptable level of competence according to both students and SPs. Confidence in SA assessment rose significantly from presimulation to postsimulation. Before simulation, medical students were significantly lower than nursing students, but the simulation event closed the confidence in SA assessment gap. Conclusions This interprofessional simulation event resulted in SA interview competence, communication skills competence, and improved confidence scores. Combined, these findings support the efficacy of simulation to train emerging healthcare providers to properly assess SA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalSimulation in Healthcare
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Interprofessional
  • advanced practice registered nurses
  • healthcare
  • medical students
  • providers
  • sexual assault
  • simulation
  • standardized patients


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