SP FAQs

▼   What is a standardized patient?
A standardized patient, also known as an SP, is an individual specially trained to act as a patient for the instruction, practice, and assessment of physical examination and communication skills required by health care providers. An SP is a significant resource for teaching and evaluating clinical skills. Some additional definitions include:
“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.” Dr. Howard Barrows, neurologist
▼   What does a standardized patient do?
Standardized patients typically have three main roles. These roles include role-play, documentation, and feedback.
  • The first role of an SP is to realistically simulate the role of a patient in a clinical situation. SPs are trained in the details of an actual case to include the history, personality, and abnormal physical findings that a patient may have. SPs are intended to be a highly realistic learning and assessment resource for the learner to develop interview skills and physical examination techniques.
  •  The second role of an SP is to accurately document what occurred in the session with the learner on the checklists you are trained to complete.
  • The third role of the SP is to facilitate learning and provide verbal and written feedback to the learners about their data gathering (interviewing and physical examination), communication, and interpersonal skills in a supportive and informative way.
▼   Do the learners know we aren’t real patients?
Yes. Learners know they are working with standardized patients. They are told to behave and interact with SPs exactly as they would with real patients.
▼    Will I need to take my clothes off?
 Depending on the goals of the encounter, SPs may wear usual clothing or patient gowns. If the encounter requires a physical assessment, both male and female SPs wear shorts and female SPs wear a sports bra.
▼   Will the learners assess all of me?
No. Depending on the goals of the encounter, learners simply complete physical assessments
exactly as they would in a clinical environment. This does not include anything beneath your shorts or
sports bra.
▼   I have surgical scars and previous health issues. Can I still be a standardized patient?
Yes, as long as your health issues do not prevent you from simulating the assigned role. Learners are
instructed to ignore scars or marks that are not associated with the case.
▼    Do I have to know a lot about medicine or health care?
 No. We will teach you what you need to know. We do not expect you to learn an extensive amount of
healthcare information.
▼   Will I have to decide if the learner passes or fails?
No.  Faculty make all pass/fail decision based on student performance.  
▼   Will I only have to work with medical students?
No. Learners include all health care disciplines.
▼   How will I know what to say and do?
The Simulation Faculty will provide case training prior to any scheduled events. SPs are provided with
detailed case information prior to the training, and review and practice the case during the training
sessions. The SPs are trained on how to answer learner’s questions.
▼   Will I have to memorize a lengthy script?
No. Some memorization of specific statements is required, but memorization of lengthy dialogs is not
expected.
▼   Is this a full time job?
No. Quite often, our SPs think of this as a less than part-time job. Depending the number of scheduled events, some weeks require a high number of SPs while other weeks have limited or
no need.
▼   How much does the job pay?
SPs are paid $12 per hour, with a minimum of three hours per scheduled event. Taxes are not deducted from earnings and no benefits are included.
▼   I’m interested or have additional questions. What do I do next?

Contact simulation@southalabama.edu for more information or to request an application.

Standardized Patient Facebook

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