Gearhart Clinical Skills Center

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Standardized Patients

A learner examines a male standardized patient.For health care students and providers at UMMC, real-life experience is a vital enhancement to classroom education. It is crucial they practice communication, observation, and critical thinking skills with real people.

To meet this important need, our Standardized Patient (SP) Program recruits, trains, and schedules people to serve
as “actors” in simulated health care situations in which a health professional learner is tasked with caring for the simulated patient.

Play an important role

A standardized patient plays the role of a person coming to see a doctor or other health care provider. SPs follow scripted scenarios in which they play the role of a patient seeing a health care provider with specific symptoms and/or complaints and observe the student’s history-taking, physical examination, diagnostic, and communication skills.

Standardized patients are required to:

  • Follow specific instructions for role-playing patient cases
  • Assess and document a student’s performance
  • Provide meaningful feedback
  • Must be reliable

SPs must be between the ages of 16 and 75. They are expected to take their work seriously and exhibit professional behavior.

Train in world-class facilities

Most SP activities take place in the new Phil Bryant Medical Education Building, where the CSC is located. The CSC is part of the Office of Interprofessional Simulation, Training, Assessment, Research, & Safety
(ISTARS), which is provisionally accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. The office boasts numerous state-of-the-art simulation bays, including a mock operating theater.

The SP assessment area includes a fully integrated, web-based video monitoring and recording system. Each “exam room” is equipped with video cameras and microphones for digital recording, data collection, and assessment of individual students and student groups.

Get great perks

SPs are part-time UMMC employees, and fully trained for all aspects of their work. On-campus parking is provided free of charge during SP activities. SPs are paid by the hour.

Help the work of UMMC

The CSC serves students in the School of Medicine and other schools for health professions at UMMC and the surrounding area.

In addition to training health care students, SPs may also be used to evaluate and train applicants and employees in other industries. They are available to help remediate skills of students, providers, or employees.

Become a standardized patient

Retirees, volunteers, stay-at-home parents, theatre students, teenagers, and anyone who enjoys working with people can be proud of being part of this important effort to train our future health care providers.

To learn more about becoming a standardized patient, please contact us at (601) 815-4779.