Role-play of real patients improves the clinical performance of medical students

Ling Ju Huang, Hui Chun Huang, Chiao Lin Chuang, Shu Luen Chang, Hung Cheng Tsai, Dai Yin Lu, Ying Ying Yang, Ching Chih Chang*, Hui Chi Hsu, Fa Yauh Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: This study aimed to evaluate whether the role-play (RP) of real patients by medical students as part of interactive clinical reasoning training can improve medical students' clinical performance. Methods: A total of 26 medical students volunteered to portray real patients within this program and were treated as the RP group while the other 72 students as the non-RP group. In the interactive morning meeting, the medical students practiced how to approach the RP student as if they were encountering a real patient. All students were evaluated by mini-clinical evaluation exercises (mini-CEX) before and after this training program. Results: We found that all students had an increased total mini-CEX score after 4-week training, especially for interviewing skills. Notably, after training, the RP students had significantly elevated total mini-CEX scores (51.23 ± 1.06 vs 53.12 ± 1.11, p = 0.028), and for counselling (7.15 ± 0.14 vs 7.54 ± 0.18, p = 0.015) and overall clinical competence (7.27 ± 0.15 vs 7.65 ± 0.16, p = 0.030). In contrast, the non-RP students had lower scores compared with the RP group, as revealed by both the pre- and post-training tests. Moreover, their mini-CEX scores were not improved after training. Conclusion: Medical students who were motivated to RP real patients had better performance scores than those who did not. In addition, RP can enhance their counselling skills and clinical competences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Education
  • Medical


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