What is a Standardized Patient?

A standardized patient (SP) is a person trained to portray a patient scenario for the instruction, practice, and assessment of the examining, diagnostic, and interpersonal skills of medical students, fellows, residents and other health care providers.

In the health and medical sciences, SPs are used to provide a safe and supportive environment conducive for learning and for standardized assessment.

An SP can also be an actual patient who uses their own history and physical exam findings for educational purposes. Sometimes SPs are used to play the part of a medical student, resident or some other non-patient role.

The use of simulated scenarios involving humans is rapidly expanding to meet the needs of many high-risk service fields outside of human health care.


Who Are Our SPs?

Our SPs are people from all walks of life who enjoy the unique and rewarding challenge of being an SP. While not at Penn Med, here are some other ways our SPs fill their time:

  • Performance Artist (Actor, Dancer, Singer, Writer, Director, Sound Designer)
  • Cellist
  • Photographer
  • Funeral Director
  • Traffic Reporter
  • Map Maker
  • Horticulturalist
  • Fabric Librarian
  • Homemaker
  • Probation Officer
  • Flight Attendant
  • Hospice Volunteer
  • School Teacher
  • Massage Therapist
  • First Aid/CPR Instructor for Red Cross
  • Human Resources Director (retired)
  • Director of CommuniShare (community building project)
  • Volunteer Counselor for Prison Inmates