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About Standardized Patient Program

SIU School of Medicine has one of the oldest and most renowned Standardized Patient (SP) Programs in the country.  Community members are employed by SIUSOM to serve as standardized patients in the training and evaluation of medical students, residents and other health professionals, particularly in the area of doctor-patient relationships.

A standardized patient is a person who has been coached to accurately and consistently recreate the history, personality, physical findings, emotional structure and response pattern of an actual patient isolated at a particular point in time.  SPs do not learn cases from a script.  Instead, they learn how the patient felt by the symptoms, limitations of the disease, and effect on daily activities.

SPs are interviewed and examined (similar to visits with one’s primary care physician) by medical students.  In the patient role, SPs may see several (1 to 12) students on a one-to-one basis during an evaluation session or work with a group of students (4 to 7) in a controlled teaching session.  SP cases are modeled after real cases.  SIUSOM has a suite of teaching exam rooms equipped with instruments and furniture found in real patient exam rooms.  SPs wear hospital gowns for cases portrayed in the emergency department, hospital and cases with physical exams.

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