These occupational interviews are designed to aid the creation of standardized patient cases. Writing cases is a time-consuming process. While the medical details can be composed based on a real patient case, it is often key details about a patient's life, including vocational history, that are difficult and time consuming to create. Often, the vocation is related in some way to a piece of the social history (an attorney who drinks too much) that may not be based on reality. However, these details are also what make the case come alive, and make the experience as true-to-life as possible.

The goal of this project is to provide true-to-life social histories which can be used as the backbone for the development of a new case.

How to use social histories

This Website contains a cross reference, linking health risk factors to particular vocations. For example, if you want to create a case of a patient who drinks more alcohol that they should, pick one of the social histories that contains a reference to alcohol. Then add the medical parts of the case as you normally would. Feel free to trim any information you feel might be excessive from the social history.

Depending on the particular use, and the duration of the station, you may need more or less information for the case. The case information is meant as resource material for the SPs with which they will be better equipped to understand a character’s motivation and justify attitudes and emotions accurately. Not all of this information is meant to be memorized; however, it has been helpful to our SPs to be familiar with its content.

How did we write these cases?

The interviews were conducted by trained professionals who had personal knowledge of people occupying the positions. All information was asked about people in the profession in general, not about them specifically. No personal or medical history was obtained. This enabled the interviewer to ask more open ended questions comfortably, allowing the interviewee to share a broad scope of information that they may not have been be as willing to make about themselves personally. In addition, we found that when the interviewer knew the interviewee personally, they were much more willing to share information than if it was with a stranger.

Most of the vocational interviews in this bank were taken from more than one source and compiled to reflect as great an array of experience within each occupation as possible. Though some vocations are more common to one gender, most can be portrayed by people of any age and of either gender.

The information reflects not only factual work-related data, but also physical, emotional and social issues common to people in these vocations.

How do you know this will help me?

The evaluation of this project is ongoing. At the end of each social history is an evaluation survey that is downloaded with the case template. Please fill it out and return it to the UPSOM Standardized/Simulation Patient Program for compilation.

How can I contribute to this project?

We welcome submissions for new histories. For your convenience, here is a link to the questions that we used in the development of these histories.

Please feel free to contact Val Fulmer, Director, for more information.