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Standardized Patient Program

About the Standardized Patient Program and the Education and Evaluation Center

The Standardized Patient program, located in the Education and Evaluation Center, started in August 2003 and is considered to be one the most respected standardized patient programs in the nation. Here we educate and assess our students from all the health programs, as well as residents from various hospitals. We also participate in community service programs, running SP projects for students from local grammar schools and high schools who are interested in entering the health professions.

The goal of the Standardized Patient program is to create a safe and controlled environment where our students may learn the fine art of patient care. During the course of their education, they will have multiple opportunities to practice this art with our standardized patients, receiving feedback on their clinical and communications skills from members of the faculty, their peers and the standardized patients themselves.

As a result, when the time comes for our students to begin seeing real patients in clinics and hospitals, they feel more prepared and confident.

What is a "Standardized Patient"?

"The Standardized Patient (SP) is a person who has been carefully coached to simulate an actual patient so accurately that the simulation cannot be detected by a skilled clinician. In performing the simulation, the SP presents the gestalt of the patient being simulated; not just the history, but the body language, the physical findings and the emotional and personality characteristics as well." - Howard S. Barrows, 1987

Why use Standardized Patients for assessing students' clinical skills?

Standardized Patients can be effectively trained to reliably assess students' interviewing, physical examination and communication skills. This allows for assessment of large numbers of students within a reasonable period of time. Their assessments have been found to be as reliable as faculty observations of the same clinical encounter.

The Standardized Patient projects we offer to all students

  • Formative learning workshops which allow first year students the opportunity to practice and hone their history-taking and physical examination skills, as well as their communication skills and professionalism.
  • Communication-specific workshops for students in their clinical rotations focusing on important and challenging topics such as Patient Safety, Motivational Interviewing targeting behavior changes (e.g. smoking cessation, nutrition, exercise) and End of Life discussions (e.g., delivering bad news, discussing palliative/hospice care options and advance directives with patients their family members).
  • Summative, high-stakes exams which assess the students' abilities in history-taking and physical examination skills, communication skills, professionalism, clinical decision making and documentation – preparing them for seeing actual patients in clinics and hospitals.

For more information about the Standardized Patient Program, see our common questions page.

To apply to the Standardized Patient Program, download our application.

For any additional questions, please e-mail Barbara Eulenberg at barbara.eulenberg@rosalindfranklin.edu.