Standardized Patient Program

Quick Facts

  • we employ 120 standardized patients (SPs)
  • 65% of our SPs are trained actors
  • 13,000+ learner contacts in 2017
  • 500+ SP events in 2017

Through the Standardized Patient Program (SPP), learners from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and across the region refine their clinical and communication skills with professional standardized participants.

What are standardized participants (SPs)?

They are "trained patients" used in clinical instruction and assessment with students. They may serve as unscripted models for students to practice history and physical exam skills or they may be meticulously trained to present patient/client case scenarios in the same way in every encounter to ensure a standardized experience for learning and assessment.

Why use SPs?

  • Ensuring students gain essential clinical experiences in simulated environments is critical to preparing a skilled workforce and to improving health care outcomes. Encounters are controlled, making them safe for both the student and the SP, and they can be reproduced consistently for ongoing standardized assessment and instruction.
  • SPs can be trained in specific elements of instruction, feedback, and/or assessment of clinical skills.
  • Academic research demonstrates the reliability and validity of SPs for teaching, evaluation, and assessment of skills. Course surveys repeatedly report a high level of student satisfaction with SP encounters.

What sets our Standardized Patient Program apart?

  • Our program is truly interprofessional, providing clinical education to students from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, genetics counseling, physical therapy, and other health programs.
  • Our program augments patient history and assessment with an emphasis on end-of-life discussions, difficult conversations, and breaking bad news.
  • We utilize SPs to teach preceptors and clinical supervisors to provide effective feedback, in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Nursing’s Institute for Educators.

What does the SPP facility offer?

  • Audio/visual capabilities with high-definition cameras
  • An environment that looks like a real clinic or hospital setting, including:
    • 8 outpatient exam rooms
    • 4 dedicated in-patient spaces
    • 2 counseling rooms (e.g. for social work and genetic counseling encounters)
  • A conscious approach to organizational design so that students and SPs do not cross paths before their encounters
  • Contemporary clinical equipment in the exam rooms
  • A small-group learning space with equipment for recording
  • An SP training room with equipment to record trainings

The Standardized Patient Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore is a collaboration of the University of Maryland Schools of Medicine and Nursing.