DOI: 10.1186/s41077-021-00172-2">

Implementation and utilization of gynecological teaching associate and male urogenital teaching associate programs: A scoping review

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Advances in Simulation


Background: Gynecological Teaching Associates (GTAs) and Male Urogenital Teaching Associates (MUTAs) are individuals trained to instruct health professional learners with their own body to conduct accurate, patient-centered breast, pelvic, urogenital, rectal, and/or prostate examinations. Evidence indicates that this results in improvements in technical competence and communication skills, but there is wide variability to how such programs are implemented and engaged within the curriculum. In this scoping review, we mapped evidence regarding (1) how GTA/MUTA programs are utilized with health professional learners, (2) how GTA/MUTA programs are implemented using the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) Standards of Best Practice (SOBP) as a framework, and (3) what broad outcomes are addressed in publications.

Methods: PubMed, ERIC, PsychINFO, CINAHL, and Sociological Abstracts were searched for all publications addressing instruction of physical examinations with a GTA/MUTA and/or administration of GTA/MUTA programs. Studies were charted in tandem until consensus was identified and then charted individually, using an iterative process. The scoping review protocol was registered prospectively.

Results: One hundred and one articles were identified, and nearly all highlighted positive results regarding GTA/MUTA programs. Most studies addressed medical students within the USA and Europe. During instructional sessions, three (SD=1.4) learners worked with each GTA/MUTA and an average of 32 min (SD=17) was allocated per learner. GTAs/MUTA instructed both independently (n=33) and in pairs (n=51). Thirty-eight articles provided detailed information consistent with one or more of the Domains of the ASPE SOBP, with six providing specific information regarding safe work environments.

Conclusions: While studies demonstrate consistently positive outcomes for learners, there is wide variability in implementation patterns. This variability may impact learning outcomes and impact both physical and psychological safety for GTAs/MUTAs and learners. Terminology used to refer to GTAs/MUTAs is inconsistent and may obscure relevant publications. Additional research is indicated to explore the pedagogical variables that result in positive learning outcomes and examine methods to ensure physical and psychological safety of GTAs/MUTAs and learners.

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DOI: 10.1186/s41077-021-00172-2