​​​The Standardized Patient Program (SPP) is an essential aspect of the medical student curriculum. Standardized patient simulation involves the use of individuals trained to portray the roles of patients, family members or others to all​ow students the opportunity to develop, practice and enhance their medical interviewing skills, communication skills, physical exam, and history taking techniques. Students participate in multiple standardized patient exercises throughout their medical education.

Using a creative and innovative approach, a Standardized Patient (SP) is a person carefully recruited and vigorously trained on assigned cases to take on the characteristics of a real patient thereby affording the student an opportunity to learn and to be evaluated on clinical skills in a simulated clinical environment.

During an interaction with a student the SP may:

  • present case history in response to questioning by the student
  • undergo a limited physical examination at the student's direction
  • assist students in developing their communication and clinical skills
  • assist students in working through difficult emotional situations in a safe environment

SPP staff work with faculty content experts to design and develop cases and evaluation instruments to teach or test communication, physical exam, and clinical reasoning skills. In addition, staff assists with the remediation process by working with students to address case specific knowledge deficits.

The SPP has an ongoing process of hiring and training a diverse and comprehensive group of SPs, encompassing all ages, races, ethnic groups, religions, genders, etc. They will be classified as a temporary employee and will not receive any additional benefits associated with the University. No acting or medical experience is required but a desire to be a participant in health care education, the ability to learn to consistently simulate patient cases, and personal dependability are essential. Working as a SP provides a unique opportunity to be involved in shaping the medical education of tomorrow’s physicians and health professionals.

For additional information please see our Standardiz​ed Patient FAQs.​​​

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