The Clinical Skills Education Center Standardized Patient Program serves students across all four years of medical school, as well as other health professions programs on campus. Standardized patient simulations provide a safe environment where learners can practice clinical skills, patient interaction and clinical problem solving.
What is a Standardized Patient?
Standardized Patients (SP) are trained to present the medical history, simulate physical examination findings and portray emotions just like the “real” patients upon whom their case was based. A professional standardized patient trainer and faculty members prepare standardized patients for their roles. Standardized patients assist in both learning and assessment activities, and are trained to provide constructive feedback to the learner. Our patients represent a variety of demographics, careers and life interests. They generally have an interest in education and personal health.
Standardized Patients provide learners practice dealing with difficult situations, such as giving bad news or dealing with an difficult patient. This allows learners to prepare for real-life challenges in a safe environment, where mistakes do not have adverse consequences for either the patient or learner.
Potential Standardized Patients
What is required to become an SP?
- A good memory
- Excellent communication skills
- Flexible schedule, reliable, punctual
- Able to take direction
- Able to consistently reproduce the history, physical findings and emotions of the “real patient” multiple times a day
- Able to give constructive feedback, either written or orally
How do I become an SP?
- Complete and submit the Standardized Patient application form
- Your information will be added to our Standardized Patient database
- Standardized Patient Coordinator will call you for an interview
- Complete Human Resources requirements (background check, W-9 form, brief health screening)
How will I be trained to be a SP?
- You will be provided a detailed script to learn
- Training may take from 2-12 hours depending on the case
- Several standardized patients may be trained together in order to “standardize” portrayal of the case and checklist completion
What are my responsibilities as an SP?
- Learn and accurately portray the case materials
- Provide meaningful constructive feedback to learners
- Maintain confidentiality of case materials and learner performances
What do SPs wear?
- For history only cases, SPs wear street clothes
- For history and physical exam cases, SPs wear hospital gowns with undergarments
- Make-up may be applied to simulate various medical problems
What are the benefits of being a SP?
- SPs are paid for training and performance time
- SPs contribute to the educational program and LLU mission, and participate in educational experiences that improve patient care
What is the time commitment?
- SPs are called to work based on the requirements for the patient cases (gender, age, race, build)
- You may work once a month or once a year
- The minimum time commitment is 2 hours
What do our current SPs have to say about the program?
"I consider working as a Standardized Patient for LLU an honor. Knowing that I have been involved in the training of future physicians, is a big responsibility that I take seriously and have enjoyed.”
"It is joy to see the students improve in their skills and know that I had a small part in that process. As a standardized patient I want them to succeed as if they were my own child at medical school, and I take pride in doing something to help them achieve that goal."
“I feel I am helping students become better doctors by giving feedback from a patient perspective. I feel the students appreciate the opportunity to learn what skills they are performing well at but also areas they can improve on. Being a Standardized Patient is a rewarding job that also offers me an opportunity to learn things I have applied to my own life.”