Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern Simulation

Clinical Education Center

Committed to developing skilled, compassionate and effective physicians and healthcare providers.

The CEC faculty, staff, and standardized patients teach and assess a wide array of clinical competencies, such as communication, history-taking, physical examination, counseling, clinical reasoning, patient safety, and advocacy. Early and advanced learners can practice and master stage-appropriate clinical skills in a supportive environment that mirrors the clinical workplace.

Who Uses the CEC?

The center sees over 10,000 visits from health sciences learners and providers annually, including students of Feinberg’s medical, physical therapy, physician assistant and genetic counseling programs, and McGaw resident physicians.  The  center is also available to student and provider groups outside Northwestern for training and assessment events. The center is home to the Harvey cardiac examination simulator as well as a set of task trainers, or manikins, to instruct participants on ear, breast, pelvic, and male urological exams. Our team includes patient instructors who train participants on performing breast, pelvic and male urological exams.

What’s a Standardized Patient?

Most CEC training and assessment involves standardized patients (SPs), actors who are trained to portray patients in a realistic and consistent manner and to reliably assess participants' clinical skills. SPs  are able to provide richly detailed verbal and/or written feedback to help participants improve their communication skills. They are trained to rigorously assess history-taking and physical examination technique during Observed Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs).  In teaching sessions, SPs can lead communication skills training or can portray a patient while a faculty member teaches a range of skills to a small group of learners.


Cultivating a Constructive Space

The standardized patients are great. I feel like they do a good job both in cultivating a constructive space for feedback and in creating appropriate realism.

- M1 Student

Comfortable While Challenging

The standardized patients are really amazing and work so hard and so well to make us feel comfortable while challenging us to be in new and sometimes difficult situations in the clinic visit.

- M1 Student

Extremely Helpful

I found the SPs to be extremely helpful at making me feel comfortable examining a patient.

- M1 Student

The Actors Really Helped Me

I thought the CEC session was excellent. We get to read the presentation of these diseases but seeing them in real life with the actors really helped me remember the key characteristics of the diseases that were presented.

- M2 Student

They Did Such a Good Job

All the credit in the world has to go to the CEC actors in simulating the mental disorders. They did such a good job.

- M2 Student

Work with the Clinical Education Center

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