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Acad Med. 2011 Jan;86(1):77-84. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181ff9893.

Use of simulated pages to prepare medical students for internship and improve patient safety.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9649, USA.



During the transition from medical school to internship, trainees experience high levels of stress related to pages on the inpatient wards. The steep learning curve during this period may also affect patient safety. The authors piloted the use of simulated pages to improve medical student preparedness, decrease stress related to pages, and familiarize medical students with common patient problems.


A multidisciplinary team at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine developed simulated pages that were tested among senior medical students. Sixteen medical students were presented with 11 common patient scenarios. Data on assessment, management, and global performance were collected. Mean confidence levels were evaluated pre- and postintervention. Students were also surveyed on how the simulated pages program influenced their perceived comfort in managing patient care needs and the usefulness of the exercise in preparing them to handle inpatient pages.


Mean scores on the assessment and management portions of the scenarios varied widely depending on the scenario (range -15.6 ± 41.6 to 95.7 ± 9.5). Pass rates based on global performance ranged from 12% to 93%. Interrater agreement was high (mean kappa = 0.88). Students' confidence ratings on a six-point scale increased from 1.87 preintervention to 3.53 postintervention (P < .0001).


Simulated pages engage medical students and may foster medical student preparedness for internship. Students valued the opportunity to simulate "on call" responsibilities, and exposure to simulated pages significantly increased their confidence levels. Further studies are needed to determine effects on patient safety outcomes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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