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In the training of healthcare professionals, one of the advantages of communication training with simulated patients (SPs) is the SP's ability to provide direct feedback to students after a simulated clinical encounter. The quality of SP feedback must be monitored, especially because it is well known that feedback can have a profound effect on student performance. Due to the current lack of valid and reliable instruments to assess the quality of SP feedback, our study examined the validity and reliability of one potential instrument, the 'modified Quality of Simulated Patient Feedback Form' (mQSF).
Content validity of the mQSF was assessed by inviting experts in the area of simulated clinical encounters to rate the importance of the mQSF items. Moreover, generalizability theory was used to examine the reliability of the mQSF. Our data came from videotapes of clinical encounters between six simulated patients and six students and the ensuing feedback from the SPs to the students. Ten faculty members judged the SP feedback according to the items on the mQSF. Three weeks later, this procedure was repeated with the same faculty members and recordings.
All but two items of the mQSF received importance ratings of > 2.5 on a four-point rating scale. A generalizability coefficient of 0.77 was established with two judges observing one encounter.
The findings for content validity and reliability with two judges suggest that the mQSF is a valid and reliable instrument to assess the quality of feedback provided by simulated patients.