About standardized patient education

The Standardized Patient Education Program has been serving the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine students since 1996. A Standardized Patient (SP) is an individual trained to act as a real patient in order to simulate a set of symptoms or problems in learning or testing situations with students.

Why are SPs important to medical education?

  • SPs offer medical students an opportunity to practice history taking, physical exam and communication skills
  • SPs work well for assessing most skills required in the physician-patient relationship
  • SPs allow medical students an opportunity to experience real life interactions with patients

SPs may be responsible for

  • Accurately and consistently portraying physical findings and deliver medical information for given scenarios
  • Filling out history and physical exam checklists
  • Rating students' communications skills
  • Offering verbal or written feedback for both student learning and evaluation
  • Repeating their scenario for each student assigned to them
  • Behaving and responding in exactly the same way with each student

Requirements for SPs

  • Flexible work schedule
  • Comfortable working with students
  • High degree of comfort with one's own body and health issues
  • Good observation skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good short-term memory
  • Ability to concentrate
  • Ability to give constructive feedback
  • Disciplined
  • Adaptable
  • Easy to work with

Apply to be a Standardized Patient

The University of Nevada, Reno Medical School is continually accepting applications for the Standardized Patient Program.

Men and women of all ages and ethnic groups are needed to represent the wide variety of cases that are used to simulate different patient histories, personalities and symptoms. Acting experience is not necessary but a good short-term memory is required because SPs must perform consistently within their assigned roles. SPs need to be comfortable in front of video cameras as many encounters are recorded.

Pay and schedules for SPs

  • SPs are on a Letter of Appointment Contract. Work is flexible, intermittent and not guaranteed.
  • SPs are paid an hourly rate and not offered benefits.
  • The frequency of work will depend on the need for a given demographic, age, gender, abilities, and SP reliability and availability.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact: Kathy Martin, RN, Manager of the Standardized Patient Program at (775) 682-6322 or kathymartin@med.unr.edu.