Two Salisbury University Students work with a pregnant patient

Standardized Patient Program

The term “Standardized Patient” (SP) is used interchangeably with the term “Simulated Patient” and “Standardized Participant”. The Healthcare Simulation Dictionary defines an SP as "a person who has been carefully coached to simulate an actual patient so accurately that the simulation cannot be detected by a skilled clinician. In performing the simulation, the SP presents the gestalt of the patient being simulated; not just the history, but the body language, the physical findings, and the emotional and personality characteristics as well" (Society for Simulation in Healthcare, 2020). SPs individuals undergo extensive training to portray various conditions (both physical and mental health) or assist with the realism of simulations involving high fidelity manikins. SPs can be used to teach and assess learners and their skills in simulated clinical environments. Frequently, SPs are asked to give feedback and assist facilitators in evaluating learner performance.

Salisbury University Medical Simulation Center

A Glimpse into the Role of a Standardized Patient

The Richard A. Henson Medical Simulation center currently uses SPs in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing to portray various behavioral and mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar mania, dementia, depression, substance use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. SPs are also utilized in Maternal-Newborn Nursing to enhance learners’ communication and interviewing skills with a pregnant or laboring woman and/or the woman’s partner or friend. SPs are also involved in Nursing Leadership, portraying healthcare professionals, patients, or family members, to provide learners the opportunity to lead discussions with an interprofessional healthcare team or work through various conflicts. The Faculty Academy and Mentorship Initiative of Maryland (formerly known as the Eastern Shore Faculty Academy and Mentorship Initiative) also uses SPs portraying undergraduate nursing students to assist in the development, coaching and mentorship of expert nurses who wish to become clinical faculty. Further, SPs can be incorporated into simulations along with a high-fidelity manikin to infuse more realism for the learners. For example, SPs can enact the role of family member, assisting nurse or doctor. An SP can portray various roles in simulation.