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Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Virtual Clinical Center

Standardized Patient Simulation

Standardized patient simulation involves the use of individuals trained to portray the roles of patients, family members or others. The Standardized Patient Program (SPP) is an educational resource used for both teaching and evaluating the clinical skills in the training of many different health sciences professional students.

The Standardized Patient

A SP is an individual who is carefully recruited and trained to portray or simulate all aspects of a real patient as part of a case scenario in order to provide an opportunity for a student to learn or be evaluated on their clinical skills in a simulated environment. SP’s learn all aspects of a patient portrayal and are carefully trained to not only simulate a real patient scenario but also provides feedback to the students, especially in regard to their communication and interpersonal skills. The purpose of using SP’s is to provide the students with the opportunity for teaching and practice evaluating clinical skills before they begin their professional careers including:

  • Physical examination
  • History taking
  • Communication
  • Patient counseling
  • Patient education


Washington State University faculty members prepare SPs for their roles in all assigned medical cases. SPs will assist in both teaching and evaluation of students. They are also trained to provide constructive feedback regarding the provider-patient encounter. SPs can expect to be utilized during one on one, small group or large group sessions that may occur in a class room or clinical exam room.

Once an applicant is selected to be a SP for an event, they are matched with the cases using specific criteria such as age, gender, race, etc. Each SP simulation is designed to be as realistic as possible to enhance the learning experience

Employment Opportunities

Becoming a SP requires good memory, excellent listening skills, and concentration. SPs should:

  • Be comfortable with their health and dealing with health professionals
  • Be willing to be videotaped for educational purposes
  • Be reliable and punctual to scheduled events
  • Keep all case information confidential
  • Keep students’ performance confidential
  • Repeatedly portray a patient case with accuracy as trained by WSU faculty or staff
  • Have strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Want to contribute to the training process of excellent health science professionals

Standardized Patient Interest Form

  • Max. file size: 195 MB.