Standardized Patients (SPs) are people in the community who are trained to portray patients with specific problems. SPs help students and residents learn how to interact with patients in realistic clinical settings and practice physical examination and other clinical skills.
What does a Standardized Patient do?
SPs study a case scenario and are scripted to give specific responses, behaviors and skills necessary for realistic, standardized portrayals. Training may involve a video review of previous SP-student encounters as well as instruction and role-playing. In some cases the SP, unlike a real patient, is asked to step out of role at the end of the encounter and provide the student with valuable feedback. In testing situations, SPs complete student evaluations based on the specific set of skills being assessed.
The SP has been carefully trained to simulate a real patient, presenting not just the patient history, but also the body language, the physical findings, and the emotions and personality.