Clinical Skills and Simulation Center

Geisinger Commonwealth’s Clinical Skills and Simulation Center brings simulated patient experiences to life.

The use of simulated patient experiences is an educational technique that allows interactive, immersive types of learning. In the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center, students interact with one another, other healthcare professionals, staff of the center, faculty, state of the art mannequins and equipment, clinicians and patient actors (standardized patients) throughout their education to accomplish curriculum objectives and specific skill competencies. The Center enhances student learning experiences by providing a means for standardized repetitive practice of clinical scenarios that don’t put real patients at unnecessary risk. The Clinical Skills and Simulation Center, consistent with Geisinger Commonwealth’s overall mission, facilitates the development of safe practitioners who exhibit skill and excellence in their practice.

In this learner-centered environment, students are exposed to many different types of simulated and standardized clinical scenarios which assist them in meeting the competency requirements of medical knowledge, practice based learning & improvement, interpersonal skills & communication, professionalism, patient care and systems based practice.

Geisinger Commonwealth Definition of Simulation

Simulation is a relatively new pedagogy designed and intended to portray real life patients in a standardized, scripted way. Simulation is the application of technology to reproduce aspects of patients and patient care in an effort to meet educational goals and objectives. Simulations provide students the opportunity to practice their interviewing, counseling, physical exam, communication and other skills that contribute to their development as professionals in the field of medicine.

The use of simulated experiences in the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center at Geisinger Commonwealth allows students to practice in a “safe”, controlled, observable environment where they can develop, practice and demonstrate competence of skills they will use on real patients. Scripts for simulated cases are curriculum based. Simulated cases are carried out in a “standardized” or consistent way meaning they realistically convey the same script to each student. As scripts are used, they are analyzed on an ongoing basis for determination of reliability and validity.

It is the goal of the Simulation program and the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center to engage students in simulated scenarios that create learning opportunities related to creation and expansion of students’ medical knowledge, patient care, medical skill sets, effective interpersonal communication techniques, practice based learning and improvement, systems based practice.

Geisinger Commonwealth Definition of a Standardized Patient (SP)

A standardized patient (SP) is a person trained to portray a real life patient in a standardized, scripted clinical scenario. SPs provide students the opportunity to practice their interviewing, counseling, physical exam, communication and other skills that contribute to their development as professionals in the field of medicine. SPs are trained to evaluate student performances and provide constructive feedback. The use of SPs in the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center at Geisinger Commonwealth allows students to practice in a “safe”, controlled, observable environment where they can develop, practice and demonstrate competence of skills they will use on real patients.

Scripts for SP cases are curriculum based. SPs simulate cases in a “standardized” or consistent way, meaning they realistically convey the same script to each student. As scripts are used, they are analyzed on an ongoing basis for determination of reliability and validity. It is the goal of the SP program and the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center to engage students in simulated SP scenarios that create learning opportunities related to creation and expansion of students’ medical knowledge, patient care, medical skill sets, effective interpersonal communication techniques, practice based learning and improvement, systems based practice and professionalism in an environment that doesn’t put actual patients at risk.


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Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

Kathryn Powell, MA
Manager of the Standardized Patient Program
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
525 Pine Street
Scranton, PA 18509
(570) 687-9680
  Antonio Pellegrino
Manager of Simulation Education & Operations
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
525 Pine Street
Scranton, PA 18509
(570) 207-3682