SPs in Teaching

SPs are used in teaching at all levels of medical education from 1st year through residency and fellowship. They can be used in small group settings, one on one, in classrooms, lectures and workshops. Any situation that can be enhanced by live demonstration or interaction is suited to teaching with Standardized Patients.

Building a Solid Foundation

In the first two years of medical school SPs help to teach basic interviewing, communication skills and physical exam techniques and may or may not provide feedback. The SPs are specially trained in roles that focus on the learning objectives of the students at these levels. SPs who are expected to give feedback to students are given specialized training in feedback.

As the students become more advanced in their interviewing skills, they are introduced to a series of “difficult patient” scenarios, such as breaking bad news to someone who has just lost a loved one, or counseling a patient about a life-threatening illness.

The Value of Feedback

  • Students receive immediate feedback from the SPs unique perspective on what they saw, heard and experienced during an encounter
  • This feedback gives the student valuable information about the effectiveness of their interviewing skills
  • The student and SP can choose to return to a difficult part of the encounter and try something new so that even when a student is struggling with communication they have the opportunity to practice and try again in a safe setting


How do SPs know what to do?

SPs are carefully trained for a role by reviewing and practicing a written scenario with a trainer.  A typical medical scenario includes background history of the patient and the symptoms associated with the presenting complaint. During the training the SPs and trainer will practice a variety of encounters so that the SP is prepared for a variety of possibilities. All of our roles are clinically based on real patients.

Scope of use in teaching

SPs can be trained in highly complex scenarios (such as psychiatric roles, end of life care and dispute resolution). They are used for workshops and teaching at the post graduate level, for faculty development, Human Resource training including patient education and more.

Contact us about your specific learning requirements. We may have just what you need or can work with you to customize a solution.


While SPs are an important part of the undergraduate curriculum in medicine and pharmacy as well as other disciplines they are commonly used in remedial one on one tutoring at all levels.
If you have a student who would benefit from extra practice with a standardized patient tutor, let us know what the issues are and we will interview the student to determine an action plan. Contact Us