Using standardized patients to teach breast evaluation to sophomore medical students

J. K. Heard, M. Cantrell, L. Presher, V. S. Klimberg, G. S. San Pedro, D. O. Erwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In response to the current emphasis on health maintenance and disease prevention, the authors developed a comprehensive education program in which sophomore medical students interview a standardized patient about breast problems and risk factors, receive one-on-one instruction from the standardized patient during the clinical breast examination, and practice recommendations for screening and instruction in breast self-examination. In this pilot study sophomore students who underwent the comprehensive education program were compared with students who received the traditional, didactic instruction and practiced on plastic breast models. The students who received the didactic instruction had mean scores on a multiple-choice knowledge-base pretest and posttest of 54.6% and 76.8%, respectively. The students who participated in the comprehensive education program had mean pretest and posttest scores of 51.2% and 78.5%, respectively. All students participated in a practical test of the clinical breast examination during an objective structured clinical examination. The students who had received the didactic instruction scored 69.9% (mean), compared with 84.1% for the students who had had the comprehensive education program. The comprehensive breast education program teaches medical students about risk factors, screening recommendations, and clinical breast examination more effectively than do traditional didactic methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-194
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Oncology


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