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Am J Surg. 2009 Jan;197(1):102-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2008.08.012.

A pilot study to integrate an immersive virtual patient with a breast complaint and breast examination simulator into a surgery clerkship.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Medical College of Georgia, School of Medicine, 1120 15th St., Augusta, GA 30912, USA.



We aimed to determine if an immersive virtual patient (VP) with a breast complaint and a breast mannequin could prepare third-year medical students for history-taking (HT) and clinical breast examination (CBE) on a real patient.


After standardized instruction in breast HT and CBE, students (n = 21) were randomized to either an interaction with a VP (experimental) or to no VP interaction (control) before seeing a real patient with a breast complaint. Participants completed baseline and exit surveys to assess confidence regarding their HT and CBE skills.


Students reported greater confidence in their HT (Delta value = 1.05 +/- 1.28, P < .05) and CBE skills (Delta value = 1.14 +/- .91, P < .05) and less anxiety when performing a CBE (Delta value = -.76 +/- 1.10, P < .05). The VP intervention group had a significantly higher mean HT confidence than the control group at the conclusion of the study (4.27 +/- .47 vs 3.50 +/- .71, respectively, P < .05).


A single interaction with a VP with a breast complaint and breast mannequin improves student confidence in breast HT during a surgery clerkship.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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