Clinical Training Facility

Standardized Patient

The University of Missouri—Kansas City Standardized Patient program is pleased to offer increasing opportunities for individuals wishing to positively influence the future of medical care.

Applications for UMKC’s SP Program are open for the 2016-2017 academic year.
We are recruiting people to portray patients in the following demographics:

Male and Female, ages 18 to 50

Applications will remain open until positions are filled.


What are Standardized Patients?

Standardized Patients (or SPs) are living simulators. They are real people who portray patients, family members or other medical personnel in training scenarios. Standardized patients are a vital part of UMKC’s evaluation-based curriculum that helps prepare students for careers in medicine. While UMKC’s students are highly trained in life sciences, their experience with SPs helps them develop the art of communication.

Much like actors, SPs are “cast” according to a scenario’s needs. Some simulations are specific, with scripted dialogue that sometimes is research-driven. Others require improvisational skill and stamina to portray cases repeatedly for multiple students. In addition, UMKC’s SPs provide valuable feedback so students understand how well they communicated with patients.

Standardized patients must be over the age of 18, have strong observation and memory skills and a demonstrated ability to deliver constructive feedback. As teaching adjuncts for University programs, standardized patients are expected to be reliable and professional. A strong interest in medical education and a willingness to learn about various medical disciplines is recommended. UMKC hires many actors, teachers, students and retirees—to list only a few of our talented SPs from varied backgrounds, including nursing, medical research, public safety, library sciences, sales, accounting, management, pastoral and social work. UMKC appreciates diversity and life experience. An acting background can be helpful, but is not required for acceptance to UMKC’s SP Program.

Those selected for UMKC’s SP pool are classified as teaching assistants with the University, and will receive mandatory training in how to portray patients and in medical assessment. They also will receive extensive training in how to evaluate students. All UMKC SPs make $20 per hour for events or training. UMKC SPs may work as little as two hours at a time, or as much as 6 to 7 hours for large-scale exams. Standardized patients at UMKC are classified as academic part-time employees, and are not eligible for benefits from the University. However, as UMKC’s Standardized Patient Program continues to expand, SP opportunities will increase.

Standardized Patients at UMKC School of Medicine

Standardized patients have been utilized by medical schools for decades, but SP simulations only recently became required for physicians to practice in the United States. UMKC’s SP program developed after the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) was expanded in 2004 with the Step 2 CS (clinical skills) assessment, which features standardized patients.

UMKC’s School of Medicine is a unique, 6-year program that combines baccalaureate and medical degrees. Most students enter the intensive program directly from high school, while others join UMKC after receiving bachelor’s degree from other universities. While the initial intent of UMKC’s SP program was preparatory for the Step 2 CS, UMKC’s standardized patient program has evolved and grown into a valuable teaching adjunct for faculty wishing to reinforce communication and clinical skills.

As students transition through UMKC School of Medicine, the curriculum gradually introduces clinical elements of medicine through successive scenarios while reinforcing communication-based lessons in SP encounters. Standardized patient assessments aren’t limited to large-scale events. Many SPs work in smaller-scale encounters, such as interactive, classroom learning environments for all levels of medical students and residents.

UMKC campus and Hospital Hill partnerships

In addition to working with medical students, UMKC’s standardized patients also assist with assessments in other UMKC programs, including for UMKC’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, UMKC’s EMS Education Department, UMKC’s Master of Science in Anesthesia Program, UMKC’s Physician Assistant Program and for UMKC’s School of Dentistry.

At Children’s Mercy Hospital, UMKC’s standardized patients role-play in simulations designed to prepare CMH residents, nurses and staff for uncomfortable interactions (such as breaking bad news to the parent of an ill or injured child).

UMKC’s community partnerships

Standardized patients from UMKC travel throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area to bring their expertise to agencies contracting with UMKC for healthcare education and simulation.

Metropolitan Community College has partnered with UMKC, utilizing SPs for training scenarios at Penn Valley’s Health Sciences Institute, a Midtown Kansas City-based simulation facility geared toward nursing and allied healthcare.

St. Luke’s College of Health Sciences in Kansas City, MO also utilizes UMKC’s standardized patients, with simulation as an integral part of nursing and allied health training at their Westport-based center.

Research College of Nursing in Kansas City, MO also utilizes UMKC’s standardized patients for training simulations at their Research Medical Center-based school.

Interested in joining UMKC’s Standardized Patient Program?

UMKC Standardized Patient Program utilizes an application process at the beginning of each academic year for those interested in becoming SPs. Individuals are selected based on projected needs from faculty. Due to that irregular schedule, standardized patients are classified as part-time employees and as such are not eligible for benefits. Applicants who are recommended for acceptance into the SP program pass a complete employment paperwork with the University of Missouri system and pass a background check for admission to the program.

Applications for UMKC’s SP Program are open for the 2016-2017 academic year.
We are recruiting people to portray patients in the following demographics:

Male and Female, ages 18 to 50

Applications will remain open until positions are filled.

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How to apply for UMKC’s Standardized Patient Program:

To apply for an interview, please download our application.  After you’ve completed it, please email it directly to the SP Coordinator, at

Courtney McCain, BS, NRP
Coordinator, Standardized Patient Program
UMKC School of Medicine
Clinical Training Facility
2411 Holmes, Kansas City, MO 64108
Office: 816-235-1865
Fax: 816-235-6191