Medical students learning the pelvic examination: Comparison of outcome in terms of skills between a professional patient and a clinical patient model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To compare two models of learning the pelvic examination (PE) for medical students, with professional patients (PP) or with clinical patients (CP), by measuring perceived distress and learning outcome in terms of skills. Methods: Prospective longitudinal study. Assessments of self-perceived distress on four occasions at the prospect of performing a PE. Evaluation of the learning session (LS) and clinical clerkship concerning outcome of palpation skills. Results: During the LS, students in the PP model (PP students) received enough guidance from their coaches, were certain they had palpated the uterus and at least one ovary, and were less distressed afterwards compared with students who were instructed using the CP model (CP students). During the clinical clerkship, the PP students performed twice as many PEs as CP students did and had more often confirmed palpating the uterus and an ovary. Conclusion: PP students were more skilful in palpating the uterus and ovaries and performed more PEs during the clinical clerkship than did CP students. Practice implications: Engaging healthy and voluntary women as PPs takes time and effort. It is, however, worthwhile as it increases the confidence of students who perform PEs, makes them more competent, and ultimately improves their skills in performing the examination during their clinical clerkship. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • professional patient, pelvic examination, medical students, skills, outcome, learning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-217
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch