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Medical College of Wisconsin Standardized Patient Program

A Standardized Patient (SP) is an individual trained to consistently simulate a specific medical condition or disease. For over twenty years, SP use has been a valid, reliable and practical method of teaching and evaluating medical students across the country. When properly trained, a SP can serve as a patient, teacher and evaluator, allowing future health care providers the opportunity to practice and receive feedback on specific skills related to patient interviewing and physical examinations.

The Medical College of Wisconsin's Standardized Patient Program has been in existence since the late 1990's and currently resides in the Standardized Teaching Assessment Resource Center (STAR Center).

Becoming a Standardized Patient

The Medical College of Wisconsin's Standardized Patient Program is committed to providing opportunities for medical students to interact with a diverse patient population reflective of actual clinical practice. Individuals 18 years and older of all backgrounds, educations, cultures, and experiences are encouraged to participate. All SPs should have an interest in working in an educational capacity for the betterment of students. Additionally, SPs need to be responsible, conscientious, patient, and able to participate in training sessions to develop proficiency in their performance. No prior medical knowledge, training, or acting experience is necessary.

Could you be a Standardized Patient (SP)?

Qualified Candidates will:

Have a good memory

  • As a Standardized Patient (SP), you will be expected to memorize a "case." The case information will include a number of details about the patient you are portraying. You may need to repeat this information over and over again numbering a series of encounters with students. In order to provide a standardized assessment experience for all
  • students, it is essential that all information provided by the SP is consistent and accurate.

Be able to portray a fictitious patient in overall look and attitude

  • SPs must be able to accurately portray a fictitious patient by providing students with accurate information as well as displaying the patient's overall attitude and appearance. Some cases may involve patients who are in great physical pain or experiencing emotional distress. Other cases may involve patients merely interested in seeking information. In order to make the scenario as realistic as possible, we rely on our SPs to consistently and accurately portray the assigned patient from appearance through the sharing of information.

Have the ability to give and receive feedback

  • As a SP, you will be expected to both give and receive feedback. Receiving feedback is important for the improvement and growth of our program. As such, the staff makes it a priority to provide you with feedback on your portrayal and overall performance as a SP as often as possible. Feedback is also important to the growth and development of our students. Standardized Patient encounters offer them the opportunity to practice their communication and physical exam skills in a safe environment that allows for feedback.

Possess basic computer skills

  • Our program is one form of assessment that our students undergo. As such, it will be your job as a SP to accurately record each encounter with a student by completing a series of checklist items on a computer. Currently, this involves occasionally typing and the use of a computer mouse. No other computer skills are required at this time.


Applying to be a Standardized Patient

The Standardized Patient Program is always looking for individuals interested in working with students in this manner. The work is sporadic and demographic needs often change, so we take on new SPs as need arises.

If you are interested in joining our program, please contact us at (414) 955-4600 or refer to MCW Human Resources Staff Openings.