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Standardized Performance Assessment Laboratory

Physician assistant students gain relevant, hands-on experience in the Standardized Performance Assessment Laboratory (SPAL).

Students interact with standardized patients who are trained to play the role of actual patients.They enhance communication and diagnostic reasoning skills in a controlled environment before working with patients in clinical settings.

SPAL lets faculty assess students’ skills, attitudes and provider/patient relationships in a real-world setting. First-year PA students have nine SPAL practicals and one in their second year.

SPAL facility

  • Student with SPAL patient12 clinical examination rooms – each equipped with a digital audio/video camera, intercom system, one-way glass for observation and two computers for faculty and SPs to complete evaluations
  • Control room – where all 12 rooms are timed, monitored and video captured
  • Rooms for post-encounter documentation and debriefing
  • Video streaming – allows students to view and critique their own encounters online while on campus
  • More than 80 standardized patients
  • More than 100 developed cases and about 5,000 student/patient encounters a year

Learn more about SPAL