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Standardized Physical Examination Teaching Associates - SPETA


 

 

A Standardized Physical Exam Teaching Associate (SPETA) is an individual who can teach and assess various parts of basic physical examination using his/her body and appropriate educational resources.

Educational Activities

SPETAs provide a standardized learning environment to ensure that learners are receiving the same essentials of the curriculum. 

SPETAs teach specific system skills. 

SPETA Body Systems:

  • Vital Signs
  • Head and Neck
  • Cardiovascular
  • Pulmonary
  • Abdominal
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurological

SPETAs give verbal and/or written feedback to learners. SPETAs are trained to deliver this feedback in an appropriate and constructive manner. SPETAs have a responsibility to provide this feedback to learners in a manner that will facilitate the learner’s education and not be destructive or harmful. 

Assessment Activities 

SPETAs are used in assessment activities with various programs by participating in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) or Clinical Practice Exam (CPE). 

The OSCE is primarily used to evaluate or assess a learner’s skills on a very structured/specific skill.  Learners complete an OSCE to evaluate a specific physical exam skill such as the heart exam, knee exam, abdominal exam, etc. OSCEs can also be used to assess interviewing/communication skills, or diagnostic reasoning skills. OSCE encounters happen one-on-one with a learner and are usually 15 minutes in length. These encounters are typically used with more novice learners who are not yet fully integrating their communication and physical examination skills.

The CPE is used to make a more global or general assessment of the learner’s clinical skills. The CPE station is developed to simulate as closely as possible an actual clinical encounter. Learners complete a CPE to evaluate their interviewing, physical examination, diagnostic reasoning, and bedside manner within one station. The role of the TA is to portray someone with a specific complaint. The learner’s role is to discover and evaluate the patient’s problem as completely as possible. CPE encounters also happen one-on-one with a learner and are usually 15-30 minutes in length. These encounters are typically used with more advanced learners who are more comfortable integrating all their skills into one encounter.