UChicago Simulation Center

Standardized Patient Program

UChicago Simulation offers a variety of programs and tools to deliver the highest quality education and training.  One such methodology is the use of Standardized Patients (SPs).  Standardized patients are educators who are trained to portray patients, family members, or other roles so that learners may practice history-taking, communication, physical exam skills and other exercises.  Feedback is a critical part of effective training.  SPs are often relied upon to convey their experience after an encounter in a constructive and meaningful way.  Surveys can be used to rate the learner and provide specific information vital to the goals of the program.

Although it may be helpful, SPs are not required to have any certification, experience acting, nor are they required to have any specific experience with an illness or situation.  People of all ages are encouraged to participate as this provides a rich diversity and realism that is difficult to achieve with manikins or patient simulators.

Work as an SP can be difficult in some cases.  SPs must be able to deliver complex medical history and may need to accurately portray a wide range of symptoms.  Some cases may involve receiving bad news or difficult subject matter and then repeatedly displaying a broad range of emotions.  UChicago Sim offers details of the case and training well in advance so that our SPs can make an informed decision about whether the case may be right for them.  

If you are interested in becoming a Standardized Patient please fill out the SP Information Request Form.


Why Become a Standardized Patient?

Because our standardized patients educate future healthcare professionals and play an integral role in numerous scenarios and training exercises.  It may be demanding but is incredibly rewarding work.  SPs provide invaluable experience for healthcare students and professionals.

Is Being a Standardized Patient Easy?

Being a standardized patient is not easy and it is not for everybody. Each role requires preparation so that you are able to maintain the character of the patient while simulating their physical condition during interviews and examinations.

This job requires a high level of energy, concentration, memorization, discipline, and comfort in answering personal questions and dealing with sensitive topics. Consideration must be made as some sessions can be emotionally taxing.

Do I Have To Have a Background In Acting or Healthcare?

No. You will be provided all the information needed for your role and trained to provide feedback.

How Often Will I Need To Work?

The need for standardized patients varies throughout the year so there is no set schedule.  Most SPs take 3-5 roles per year.

Are SPs Paid?

Yes!  You will work as a contract employee for the University of Chicago.

Will I Be Recorded, Streamed, or Posted To Social Media?

Some sessions are recorded to provide feedback to our learners.  Before accepting the role, you will be notified if a session will be recorded or streamed allowing you to make an informed decision whether that role is right for you.  Videos are used almost exclusively for feedback or training and not shared with the general public. 

We like to share the amazing work our educators do here so if we are going to post to social media, you will be asked to sign a consent form prior to posting.

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