Medical Communications Consultant
What is a Specialized Patient, or Medical Communications Consultant?
Traditional medical training focuses on the physical. In the past, actors playing 'standardized patients' reported physical symptoms so medical students could practice diagnostic techniques.
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the need for caregivers to learn communication techniques for difficult conversations, such as breaking bad news or helping a patient faced with a terminal diagnosis set goals and priorities.
A 'Specialized Patient' portrays the complex emotions accompanying these conversations, allowing caregivers to practice difficult discussions.
Stephanie has worked for over a decade with caregivers at all stages of training, from beginning medical students to practicing physicians, nurses, and social workers. Drawing on decades of acting experience, Stephanie is able to access intense emotions that bring reality to these role plays. She uses improvisation skills to respond to what the learner is doing or saying. Finally, she offers feedback, giving insight into what the patient was thinking and feeling, and providing suggestions for the future.
She is honored to have worked with the team developing the Serious Illness Communications Checklist, which was featured on Frontline and is discussed in Atul Gawande's Being Mortal.
Other clients include:
"As a patient, Stephanie embodies a perfect balance of authenticity of character with flexibility to follow the student's line of questioning. She has a remarkable range as an actress, and effectively conveys typical patient emotions such as despair, tears, vulnerability, anger, fear, and denial.