The SGIM session I attended this afternoon made it clear that patient simulators (whether they're mannequins, body parts or actors) are not just for fun. Medical students and residents should be required to use them and then tested on their skills, the speakers said. And they presented data to show how remarkably effective the simulators are.
But still...one of the simulations they mentioned cracked me up. The student/resident is presented with a woman (actually an actress) who needs a pelvic exam. The student makes all the proper conversation with the woman and then lifts her gown. And underneath they find...a fake pelvis (aka a part task trainer)! I know the students are probably told about the setup ahead of time, but I can't stop snickering at the image of a wide-eyed med student who's just unveiled plastic genitals on a live woman.