What is a standardized patient?

Standardized or simulated patients (SPs) are individuals who are carefully screened and trained to simulate the signs and symptoms of an actual patient. The cases they portray are based on actual patient encounters experienced by physicians.

How are standardized patients used at the University of Virginia School of Medicine?

The use of standardized patients in the teaching and assessment of clinical and communication skills continues to expand. Currently, the Clinical Skills Center supports and enhances the curricula of the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and provides services to several health care institutions in the Commonwealth.


  • Hands-on teaching, patient interaction, examination practice, and assessment of their clinical, professional and communication skills in an authentic examination scenario
  • Patient-centered interviewing techniques
  • Patient diversity and cultural differences
  • Multiple diseases
  • Visual monitoring through video-taping and/or web-streaming
  • Ethical dilemmas
  • Professionalism issues


  • History-gathering process
  • Communication skills
  • Physical examination
  • Diagnostic skills
  • Patient management plans


Are Standardized Patients paid for their participation?

Yes, SPs are paid for their participation in our programs. Payment ranges from $15-20 per hour and is dependent upon the nature of the project.

How are Standardized Patients trained for a program?

Each standardized patient  is carefully screened to determine how to best use existing skills or attributes. Training time for individual cases varies from 5-20 hours for each program and includes independent study and instructional workshops led by the Program Director, trainers, and clinical faculty. During the workshops, standardized patients and patient instructors learn the case, the program’s objectives and hone their communication skills.

Whom do I contact if I am interested in developing a case and/or discussing how this program may be used in my department or class?


Email Jim Baker by clicking the box below.

Click Here

Case development takes time and usually requires numerous revisions. Allow adequate time if you are interested in developing cases.

Please contact Jim Baker for more information.



Email Jim Baker by clicking the box below.

Click Here