The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville

UT Center for Advanced Medical Simulation

Standardized Patient Information

What is a standardized patient?

A standardized/simulated patient (“SP”) is a person trained to portray a patient for instruction, assessment, or practice of communication and/or examining skills of a health care provider. These patients are given a script and trained according to the medical case of the patient they are portraying. They are taught to anticipate student questions and how to answer them. The SPs also use checklists and other assessment forms to help the instructor evaluate student performance during the SP simulation experience.

What types of physical exams are done on standardized patients?

SPs may receive common examinations, such as those that are commonly experienced as a real patient in a doctor’s office. For example, students may listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope; press on the abdomen to look for tenderness or swelling; look into the eyes, ears, and throat; take blood pressure; assess muscle strength; check reflexes; or check pulses.

Who can be a standardized patient?

Adults over the age of 18 years old are eligible to be SPs. The UT Center for Advanced Medical Simulation utilizes SPs of all races, ethnicities, genders, religions, body types, and backgrounds.

Do standardized patients need to know a lot about medicine?

No. The training for each role will include all of the information needed to portray that case.

Basic requirements for being a standardized patient:

Skills needed to be a standardized patient:

What is the time commitment?

There is no set schedule for SP roles, but work is typically done Mondays-Fridays during normal business hours. On average, someone with completely open availability might be asked to work 2-3 times per month. Typically, SP work days last about 4 hours, though full days are requested at times. Orientation takes a full business day and ongoing training for new SP roles may take up to 4 hours. All training time is counted as work hours.

Interested in learning more or becoming a standardized patient?

Contact us via this form, and a staff member from the UT Center for Advanced Medical Simulation will respond within a 2-3 business days.


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