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Frequently asked questions by standardized patients

What is a standardized patient?

Standardized patients are members of our community who are educated to portray a real patient within a staged health setting to enhance the learning experience of students in Elon University’s School of Health Sciences. Standardized patients work with both physical therapy students and physician assistant students. 

What characteristics make the best standardized patient candidate?

The best standardized patients have the ability to memorize detailed information and accurately portray their character consistently for each student they see.  

Will I have to get undressed?

We want the experience to be as realistic as possible for our students and that may require you to dress in a hospital gown for exams. 

How do I know what to say or do with the student?

All standardized patients are trained with a script and checklist of materials before conducting a simulation with students. Often times, the standardized patients will practice with each other in a training group to work out any inconsistencies before the day of performance.

Is this similar to being a research subject?

No. Our program is designed to allow our students a chance to gather firsthand information from their standardized patients and practice caring for patients. The program is not designed to turn our standardized patients into guinea pigs. 

What types of physical exams are done?

Our students will be trained in performing head-to-toe examinations. Our students will not be performing pelvic, rectal, breast or male genitalia exams. 

Do you require special education or training to participate in the program?

No specialized training is necessary, and we will train each of our standardized patients to meet the needs of each simulation. We do, however, encourage participation from those who have been standardized patients at other institutions. 

Do the students know that we are acting like patients and are not real?

Yes. All students are aware that they are in a simulation, but we encourage them to perform as if it were a real medical situation. 

How do I grade the student?

Our standardized patients are not tasked with the job of grading students. We do, however, have a detailed feedback system in place that gives our program information on your patient experience. This feedback includes things, such as the student hitting the highlights of the case, the student making you feel comfortable as a patient and the student actively listening to you. 

How often will I work?

Our program is designed with several simulated days per calendar year and your work schedule will be based on student demands and prior performances. We have systems in place to contact standardized patients at least two weeks prior to the simulation date and schedule them for case training at that time. 

How am I compensated for my time?

Standardized patients are paid an hourly rate for all training and simulation days.