Virtual patients (VPs) are now widely accepted as efficient and safe training tools in medical education, but very little is known about their implementation in psychiatry, especially in transcultural clinical care of traumatized refugee patients. This study aimed at assessing the impact of training with a virtual patient on confidence in providing clinical care for traumatized refugee patients. The authors developed an educational tool based on virtual patient methodology portraying the case of “Mrs. K”, a traumatized refugee woman with symptoms of PTSD and depression. A group (N=32) of resident psychiatrists tested the system and their confidence in different aspects of providing clinical care for this patient group was evaluated pre- and post-test by using a validated confidence questionnaire. A statistically significant improvement was exhibited in overall confidence as well as in four more specific domains of clinical care, with the area of identifying and evaluating trauma-related diagnoses and disability showing the most prominent improvement. This VP-system can lead to physicians’ improvement of confidence in providing transcultural clinical care for traumatized refugee patients. Further research is required to investigate improvement in actual performance and cognitive outcomes with several VPs and in a long-term effect perspective.
An important policy initiative implemented for the past 40 years in Canada, refugee private sponsorship has attracted international attention as Europe continues to grapple with