Construction and Validation of the Nijmegen Evaluation of the Simulated Patient (NESP): Assessing Simulated Patients’ Ability to Role-Play and Provide Feedback to Students

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Abstract

Purpose

To develop an instrument that could be used at different medical schools to assess the performance of individual simulated patients (SPs) on their ability to role-play and provide feedback, including feedback on medical students’ communication skills and medical knowledge.

Method

In 2011, the authors sought to develop and validate a new instrument to achieve these goals. During Phase 1, one of the authors conducted semistructured interviews with medical students, medical psychologists, physicians, and experts to explore what was required of SPs. During Phase 2, the authors assessed the reliability and feasibility of the instrument that they had developed during Phase 1, using a principal components analysis with varimax rotation. During Phase 3, they performed a confirmatory factor analysis on the items in the final instrument.

Results

During Phase 1, the authors constructed the Nijmegen Evaluation of the Simulated Patient (NESP), which included three components—role-play, process of feedback, and application of feedback rules. They then determined that approximately 8 to 20 completed instruments per SP led to satisfactory to excellent reliability estimates. In Phase 3, their confirmatory analysis confirmed the three components that they had determined in Phase 2. Reliability estimates for each component (role-play, process of feedback, application of feedback rules) and the final NESP as a whole were 0.86, 0.83, 0.79, and 0.92, respectively.

Conclusions

The authors concluded that the NESP is a feasible, valid, and reliable instrument that could be used at different medical schools to assess the performance of individual SPs.

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