What is a standardized patient?
A Standardized Patient, or SP is a layperson trained to present a clinical scenario or illness just like a "real" patient, for teaching or testing
Standardized Patient Brochure (pdf) and Form.
What are the benefits of using SPs versus "real" patients?
- The Standardized Patient is not actually "sick" and worried about their care. The SP can focus on the student's actions.
- Standardized Patients provide a "safe" environment for students to practice and perfect skills they will use with actual patients.
- Students can practice their approach to a patient without the fear that making a mistake or saying something "wrong" may upset the patient.
- The Standardized Patient is trained to portray a scenario identically every time, allowing each student the same learning opportunity.
- Testing students' "patient" skills using Standardized Patients ensures a more predictable and fair assessment.
What Are SPs Used For?
Here are a few examples.
- Students learn to interview a patient and gather information needed to help diagnose their problem.
- Students practice effective interpersonal skills to better communicate with patients.
- Students learn appropriate techniques and approaches for physical examination of patients.
- Students learn techniques to counsel patients in a variety of circumstances on a variety of issues.
- Students gain experience with challenging issues such as breaking bad news.
- Testing any of the above.
What happens during an encounter with a student?
- A typical encounter with a student may involve the SP being interviewed, counseled, or examined in the same manner as would occur during a regular doctor visit.
- For certain sessions the SP is trained to provide constructive feedback to the student from the patient's point of view.
- In certain cases SPs are trained to score student performances, and provide a score.
Standardized Patients Do NOT:
- Replace students' experiences with real patients
- Undergo invasive or potentially harmful examinations or procedures, e.g. rectal/pelvic exams, injections, etc.
How do I become a standardized patient
What qualifications do I need?
We look for people:
- From all walks of life
- Of all shapes and sizes
- Of all ages and both sexes
- With good communication skills
- With a genuine interest in helping students learn
- With reasonably flexible hours
- Who can devote an occasional half day
How does becoming a standardized patient benefit me?
- Gain awareness that you are making a significant contribution to the training of our future physicians and health care providers.
- Help further develop and fine-tune your own interpersonal communication skills.
- Better understand how our health care system works.
- Meet new people with a common interest.
- Gain modest financial compensation.