“Standardized patients and simulation technology are a vital and growing part of Penn Medicine, providing the crucial link between the classroom and the clinic. Real patients are neither as accessible nor as willing as they were in the past to allow students to learn from them. With standardized patients, students have the opportunity to apply newly acquired skills without the fear of putting an actual patient at risk. The use of SPs is integral in helping us achieve our ongoing goal of producing world-class, patient-centered physicians.”

Student Testimonials

MD 301: Doctor-Patient Relationship

“It gave us a chance to encounter different patient experiences in a safe environment. It is really good practice for real patients.”

“Putting students in uncomfortable situations in a safe environment (e.g., discussing religion, HIV) is a great way to explore how those issues can be addressed in a clinical setting.”

“It is scary and awkward to be put on the spot, but I feel better equipped to deal with real problems people have.”

“Very challenging and difficult experience that will cause me to reflect on the best approach to patients in similar situations.”

“The standardized patient interviewing is the best portion of the course and the most informative. It makes me think about circumstances that I couldn't have imagined on my own.”


Doctoring II - Breaking Bad News

“SPs give great feedback. It's excellent to practice breaking news to SPs rather than an actual patient.”

“Great to practice this and see how to deal with these issues before we need to do this in the hospital.”

“Actually going through an experience like this is much better than just reading or talking about it. I thought I knew what I was going to say, but it was much harder actually getting thoughts and words out.”

“Very realistic portrayals. It was very uncomfortable, but this was not necessarily a bad thing, as these interactions will always be difficult.”

“The SPs were excellent. They really made the exercise feel real.”


Doctoring II - Disclosing Medical Errors

“The case was appropriate to my level and generated an interesting and realistic scenario.”

“Gives students opportunity to practice giving news re: medical error.”

“The patient was great - so convincingly irate.”


Doctoring II - Discussing Advance Directives

“Having discussions like this is something that we really have to work at being comfortable with, and this is a good first step to approaching advance directive discussions.”

“Very realistic topic and portrayal.”

“The SP raised some good issues.”

“The SP tried to challenge the students to confront difficult decisions.”

“It is important to think about and discuss this difficult topic. It was nice to do so in a low-stress environment. I also liked how SP's reaction varied with each student.”

“The patient did not necessarily react like I thought she would. Good to have an unexpected response.”


Doctoring II - Dealing with a Flirtatious Patient

“Good discussion about a relevant issue.”

“Very useful; the SP was convincing, and the topic was appropriate.”

“Practicing awkward situations is useful.”

“Great SP! Particularly good session, with good time outs. Good teaching, etc. Great!”

“Portrayal by SP was very convincing. Helped show the awkward moments in such a conversation.”

“It was a low stress way to approach awkward situations like this and talk together about how to handle.”


Family/Internal Medicine OSCE

“Enjoyable to see how I've grown in the clerkships. Great to see patients -- better than multiple choice exams.”

“It's nice to see how far we've come from the standardized patient experiences we had last fall. I felt much more comfortable interacting with the patients both interpersonally and with a mind to taking a history, etc. These cases were great.”

“I received some great feedback from the SPs.”

“I liked how the experience was challenging and yet brought together many aspects of what we had learned. I felt that cases covered pertinent information and were realistically portrayed.”

“Feeling like a real doctor for the first time.”

“Nice to get feedback from patients.”

“It's always helpful to get feedback on how I'm coming across.”

“The SPs are good actors which makes it more realistic.”

“It was fun - SPs were very good.”

“I thought it was great.”

“Feedback on my ability to make the patient feel important and unrushed.”

“Great cases, liked that we got direct feedback.”

“SPs are good - talented folk.”

“Feedback on the personal aspects of my relationship with patients.”

“It's always good to practice a setting where feedback is expected and encouraged.”

“Pace quite similar to family medicine. Realistic.”

“Challenged my interpersonal skills.”

“It was interesting doing SP exercise now having been in clinics for about 9 months.”

“The challenge and the variety of cases. Very realistic. We don't get practice doing so much in a rapid fire environment, so this is good!”

“Realistic portrayal of real problems by the SPs.”

“Feedback on interpersonal skills.”

“It's great to get feedback from the SPs - it's easy to overlook some key interpersonal facets of the patient encounter sometimes in the rush of caring for patients.”

“I enjoyed actually getting to be the one to deliver the plan for once!”

“Feedback was immensely helpful.”

“Very realistic portrayals; good, candid feedback”

“Cool to put skills into action!”



“It was helpful to practice with different types of patients: old, young, male, female, etc. The different attitudes they brought also helped me to get more comfortable talking to various patients that may approach healthcare with different attitudes.”

“I liked the practice and being alerted to small things I was not aware that I was doing.”

“The feedback from the student partner, the SP, and the faculty - each one had different perspectives and that ensured we had a broad range of critiques.”

“We have lots of chances to interview people but rarely can we get honest, constructive feedback from patients.”

“I loved how I noticed a progression in my ability to elicit a detailed history.”

“They actually seem like real patients! It was great to be able to verbalize the questions with a real patient.”

“It was valuable to have such skilled standardized patients to work with because each time I felt like I was speaking to a real patient- therefore I think it was great practice to be able to interview them.”

“It was great practice to have to do histories before we're in the clinics - I feel much more comfortable about it now.”

“The practice was great - the standardized patients were extremely helpful in their feedback.”

“Just the practice was invaluable; I'm less frightened for the spring!”

“It was really helpful to get to practice on patients in a low key setting.”

“It gives practice taking histories - and practice breeds comfort.”

“I think it's just really helpful to work with SPs - to work on history skills with strangers who give feedback.”

“I like being put face-to-face with someone unfamiliar and challenging before having to go out and face similar situations in the real world. Very useful program and I loved the (semblance of) patient contact.”

“I thought the feedback from the standardized patients was great. Will definitely help me for real patients.”



“Brought everything together that I've been working on - felt like I improved a lot over the course of the class.”

“Patient gave good feedback; I felt like I'm getting better and more comfortable w/material and still feeling conversational.”

“The patient gave great feedback about my general inclinations to do and say certain things.”

“It felt very realistic to be in an actual office setting.”

“It was good being in a real examining room. It felt more authentic.”

“This was a good chance to practice history taking in a much more realistic setting.”

“Great program - the SPs were excellent. I thought this was a great help.”


Clinical Skills Inventory (CSI)

“Good preparation for Step 2 Clinical Skills. The SPs had great portrayals.”

“Well organized, SPs are always good.”

“It is helpful to have more patient encounters as a way to prepare for the clinical skills exam. I thought that the patient presentations were for the most part realistic and were adequate for my level of training.”

“The patient encounters were great practice for real clinical situations and concordant with my level of training.”

“The cases were appropriate for our level and reflected real encounters.”

“Good practice for step 2.”

“Run very well, SPs were excellent, cases were challenging and interesting.”

“Good integration of a variety of topics.”

“SPs were good as usual.”

“SPs were effective.”

“I think the SPs did a really good job of portraying their cases realistically.”

“Though these exams are always nerve-provoking, I think they are important ways for us to assess our knowledge.”

“Good range of cases. SPs were all great portraying. Well organized (as always).”

“Good variety of cases. Good portrayals by SPs.”

“Well organized; good cases - made me realize I need to improve certain aspects of the physical exam.”

“Good to get more practice in clinical situation.”

“Good variety of cases. SPs did excellent job in general.”

“Time sensitive HPI and notes are always good experience. SPs are always great. I liked the variety of cases.”

“Forcing someone to look at their strengths/weaknesses clinically in a short period of time.”

“Excellent experience. Learned a lot, hope to do this again in the future.”


SP Testimonials

“In comparison to other SP work I do, Penn Med is taken more seriously, training is more thorough, the cases are more complex and the expectations of my performance are higher.”

“Penn seems to be particularly strong in their SP training methods. As a result, I feel well prepared when I begin a new case.”

“I believe the positive attitude of the staff fosters a positive attitude in the SPs and leads to good and effective performances.”

“The cases are consistently more interesting; staff is delightful to work with.”

“Training is excellent and helps make you feel like part of a community.”

“The training is the best I've had at any program and, as a result, I feel that I can give students truly helpful feedback on clinical skills and interpersonal skills.”

“The staff seem genuinely interested in the quality of the work and treat the SPs very well.”

“I really think it is a great program and I enjoy participating. It is interesting to see how much the program has grown in the past ten years.”

“Atmosphere of professionalism balanced with support, loyalty, and humor.”

“I really enjoy helping the students find their unique way to work with patients.”

“I like knowing that my work is helping to prepare the students to meet real patients.”

“[I enjoy] helping students become better doctors by providing a practice or test situation for them.”

“The staff and doctors at Penn make me feel my work is appreciated.”

“I think [the Penn Med SP Program] is well run and helps the students feel more confident in their ability to deal with patients.”

“It is so obvious from the students’ responses that these programs are useful, pertinent and well-thought out. It's a pleasure to be a part of that!”

“The pay is great, and Penn is a worldwide known name.”

“It's fun! A very professional environment.”