Hi everyone! First, a huge thanks to all of the experts who have offered to join this conversation. We hope this thread will lead to an interesting and helpful discussion about the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills exam. However, before we get to the Step 2 CS exam specifically, we were wondering if our experts can talk about the difficulties of teaching & assessing clinical & communication skills, especially compared to scientific and clinical knowledge.
Every medical student is observed and evaluated on their clinical performance during core and elective clinical rotations, but there are many concerns about the subjectivity and variable quality of these assessments. In recent years, standardized patient exams have been the hallmark for objective clinical skills teaching and testing at medical schools all over the country. Are standardized patient examinations the best way to assess clinical skills? What are the limitations of using standardized patients? Do standardized patient examinations improve upon observed clinical examinations in a real hospital setting? Are there any good alternative approaches?