Frequently Asked Questions about Standardized Patients

What do standardized patients do?
Standardized Patients (SPs) are trained to accurately and consistently portray specific types of patients. The simulation includes a specific history, physical findings, body language, and emotional and personality characteristics.

Do I get paid?
Yes. You are not an employee of the Health Science Center; you are an independent contractor. You do not get benefits, and no taxes are withheld from your paycheck. Compensation varies depending on complexity of the project.

Who can be a Standardized Patient?
Men, women, and children of all ages and ethnic groups are needed to represent the various cases and patient problems used for simulations. Acting experience is not necessary, but a good short-term memory is required because it is important to remember the specifics of your role. Necessary training is provided by faculty and staff from the different programs at UNTHSC. Standardized Patients are paid for time spent in training.

To be a Standardized Patient, it is important that you: 

  • Are proficient with the English language, both oral and written
  • Have at least one full morning (8am-12pm) OR one full afternoon (1pm-5pm) during the week on a regular basis
  • Have reliable transportation
  • Have email you can access daily
  • Have a telephone number where we can reach you
  • Attend an orientation session at UNTHSC

What are the advantages for students?
Standardized Patient encounters provide simulations that give students the opportunity to work with a variety of routine, difficult, and sensitive clinical situations in a safe environment where mistakes cannot harm a real patient. Faculty, peers, and the SP can offer immediate feedback about student performance. Periodic evaluations of interactions with SPs also allow students and faculty to develop individualized learning plans based on student performance.

What is the time commitment?
Standardized Patients can work occasionally or as much as they wish, depending on their availability and curriculum needs. Opportunities are announced via email, and participation is optional. Case portrayals typically vary in length from two hours to half a day and are also typically between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

Why should I become a Standardized Patient?
Being a Standardized Patient provides a unique opportunity to be involved in the medical and professional education of tomorrow’s health care

providers. Theoretically, students who participate in health care simulations develop superior communication skills, and make fewer mistakes when they begin to treat real patients.

Will I need to expose private parts of my body?
Many cases do not require changing clothes. Some patient portrayals do require the SP to wear a hospital gown, and undergarments or sports bra may remain on under the gown. An example of when a gown may be necessary is when the case requires the student to listen to the patient’s heart or lungs or examine the patient’s abdomen. Some skills, such as pelvic exams, require the removal of undergarments. In those situations, the exam will take place in a private room, and draping of the SP to maintain privacy and respect will be done. Persons hired to be SPs can choose which cases they want to portray after learning all the requirements of the case.

Will the students be practicing procedures that are painful or that cause discomfort?
Standardized Patients are used only for routine physical examinations. Annual well-woman exam cases include breast exams and pelvic exams. There may be some minor discomfort during these exams, similar to that experienced when these exams are performed by the female SP’s doctor. Invasive procedures are accomplished in the Simulation Center with part task trainers and mannequins.

If a student is examining me and I no longer feel comfortable with what we are doing, can I stop the process?
Yes. The Simulation Center faculty and staff members are committed to making the experience a rewarding one for all involved.

How do I apply?
You may access the application form by clicking HERE.  You may also call the Simulation Center at 817-735-2315 and request an application form be sent to you. Please complete the form and mail it back in the envelope provided.

Be sure to read more about the Standardized Patient Education Program by clicking this link to the UNTHSC website. If you have other questions, please feel free to contact anyone listed below.

Contact Information:

Nancy Tierney, PhD, RN, ACNP
Director of Simulation and Standardized Patient Program

Janet Jowitt, RN
Standardized Patient Educator

Amber Pritchett
Senior Administrative Coordinator

Jocelyn Bryant
Senior Administrative Coordinator

This page was last modified on June 28, 2017