New Center Gives UAMS Students Hands-On Experience

By todd

LITTLE ROCK — Students at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) have a new resource for gaining hands-on clinical experience.


The Center for Clinical Skills Education was unveiled today at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the UAMS College of Public Health. Although the campus has had a similar center for several years, the new one features state-of-art technology available at few other medical schools in the country.


“Our center is unique because it offers students in all of UAMS’ colleges a chance to interact with patients and practice their clinical skills in real-world settings,” said Mary Cantrell, center director. “We are proud to offer this center to our students, and believe that it gives them an incredible educational advantage.”


Participating in the ceremony were UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D.; UAMS College of Medicine senior Kate McCarthy of Little Rock; Sara Tariq, M.D., medical director for the center; and Cantrell.

The center features 14 fully equipped examination rooms for face-to-face interaction between student and patient. Trained individuals, called standardized patients, are used to simulate illnesses for the students to diagnosis.

Each room is equipped with dual cameras and two-way audio response. Instructors can control the cameras in each exam room, videotape the exam and communicate with the students via microphone.

The observation room has 14 computer stations, each corresponding to an exam room, at which other students or instructors can monitor the exam and score the students on the clinical skills they exhibit. Standardized patients also score students on the exam.

“All of the UAMS College of Medicine seniors recently passed an important national clinical skills exam on the first try,” Wilson said. “I believe that the knowledge and experience our students gained at the center directly contributed to their success on this exam and will make them better health care providers overall.”


The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 2 Clinical Skills Exam is required for licensure as a physician in the United States. The exam was implemented in the 2004-2005 school year to test medical students on their ability to apply medical knowledge, skills and understanding of clinical science in a patient-care setting.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,320 students and 690 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with almost 9,000 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the VA Medical Center. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.3 billion a year.