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Standardized Patient Program at GCSOM

What are standardized patients?
A standardized patient (SP) is a person trained to portray a real life patient in a standardized, scripted clinical scenario.

How do we utilize standardized patients?
SPs provide students the opportunity to practice their interviewing, counseling, physical exam, communication and other skills that contribute to their development as professionals in the field of medicine. SPs are trained to evaluate student performances and provide constructive feedback. The use of SPs in the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine allows students to practice in a safe, controlled, observable environment where they can develop, practice and demonstrate competence of skills they will use on real patients.

Why do we use standardized patients?
Research has found that these types of encounters have certain advantages that cannot be duplicated by the use of paper problems, role playing, questionnaires or even real patients. 

  • The clinical scenario is controlled and reproducible.
  • The clinical problem is present at any time or place.
  • Provides a unique opportunity to practice various skills
  • The SP can provide objective and unbiased feedback.

Who are the standardized patients at Geisinger Commonwealth?
People from our community. They are students, teachers, health professionals and more that range in age from 18 – 80.

What do we do in our Standardized Patient Program? 
Scripts for SP cases are curriculum-based. SPs simulate cases in a standardized or consistent way, meaning they realistically convey the same script to each student. As scripts are used, they are analyzed on an ongoing basis for determination of reliability and validity. It is the goal of the SP program and the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center at Geisinger Commonwealth to engage students in simulated SP scenarios that create learning opportunities related to creation and expansion of students’ medical knowledge, patient care, medical skill sets, effective interpersonal communication techniques, practice based learning and improvement, systems based practice and professionalism in an environment that doesn’t put actual patients at risk.

Contact us

Kathryn Powell, MA
Manager, Standardized Patient Program