Innovative Training with Virtual Patients in Transcultural Psychiatry: The Impact on Resident Psychiatrists’ Confidence

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Virtual patients (VPs) are now widely accepted as efficient and safe training tools in medical education, but very little is known about their implementation in psychiatry, especially in transcultural clinical care of traumatized refugee patients. This study aimed at assessing the impact of training with a virtual patient on confidence in providing clinical care for traumatized refugee patients. The authors developed an educational tool based on virtual patient methodology portraying the case of “Mrs. K”, a traumatized refugee woman with symptoms of PTSD and depression. A group (N=32) of resident psychiatrists tested the system and their confidence in different aspects of providing clinical care for this patient group was evaluated pre- and post-test by using a validated confidence questionnaire. A statistically significant improvement was exhibited in overall confidence as well as in four more specific domains of clinical care, with the area of identifying and evaluating trauma-related diagnoses and disability showing the most prominent improvement. This VP-system can lead to physicians’ improvement of confidence in providing transcultural clinical care for traumatized refugee patients. Further research is required to investigate improvement in actual performance and cognitive outcomes with several VPs and in a long-term effect perspective.

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Pantziaras, I., Fors, U., & Ekblad, S. (2015). Innovative training with virtual patients in transcultural psychiatry: The impact on resident psychiatrists’ confidence.  PloS one,  10(3), e0119754.

About This Study:

Outcome(s): Cultural Competence
Intervention(s): Cultural Competence Training
Intervention Duration: 45 minutes
Relevant ORR Program: Medical Screening
Study Type: Suggestive evidence
Full Text Availability: Free
Direction of Evidence: Positive impact
Strength of Evidence: Suggestive
Gender(s) of Participants: Female
Age(s) of Participants: Adults
Region(s) of Origin of Participants: Europe - East

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