The list serve for the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) is an invaluable tool for anyone who is directing or working in a Standardized Patient Program in general or specifically with the training and development of standardized patients(SPs). Standardized patients are people who are trained to provide patient scenarios so that health care students can learn, practice and become confident and competent in history taking, physical exam and communication skills. There are presently Standardized Patient Programs in every medical school in the United States and pretty much around the world. At a recent conference there were representatives from over 30 different countries present. With that large of a group, the list serve proves to be a valuable tool in connecting folks who share the same concerns as they work towards creating the best possible program to serve learner needs. The topics discussed on the list serve can range from very basic such as “Do you use clipboards for your students?” to much more complex topics such as the best practice for assessment of student performance.
The list serve also proves to be a confidence booster in the sense that you are able to share ideas or practices that you currently use and hear other folks compliment or better yet add to what you are presently doing. I have been able to develop different practices for our Center based on ideas and research that others have done and shared with the group. One of the tenants of ASPE is adding to the body of knowledge in regards to SP Methodology. The list serve allows for this to happen on a regular basis.
The list serve is hosted by the University of Washington and monitored by an ASPE member who works there. There are rules for engagement on the list serve. My experience has been one of having the opportunity to interact on a professional level with those who share similar responsibilities as I do. I am grateful for this method of communication.