What are Standardized Patients?
Standardized Patients (or SPs) are people who portray patients or family members in training scenarios for medical and allied health students. In addition to portraying various roles so students may practice their examination and communication skills, UMKC’s SPs also evaluate those students from the patient perspective.
Much like actors, SPs are cast according to scenario objectives. Most roles require improvisational skill and stamina to portray cases repeatedly for multiple students. For graded evaluations, portrayals also must be “standardized”, with multiple SPs portraying the same role as identically as possible, so all students see the “same” patient.
Standardized patients must be over the age of 18, have strong memory and observation skills and a demonstrated ability to be reliable and professional. They must be comfortable wearing hospital gowns (with underwear beneath), so students may practice general physical exam skills (for example; listening to the SP’s heart or examining their abdomen) in a confidential setting.
UMKC SPs make $20 per hour for events and/or training. Standardized patients who are hired for the SP pool would be eligible for roles in which they are a good fit. Work hours are irregular and contingent on multiple factors, including faculty requests for specific case demographics, numbers of students and event scheduling requirements. All new SPs must attend six hours of mandatory orientation (for which they are paid) to be considered for specific roles.
UMKC hires many talented SPs from varied backgrounds, including acting, directing, teaching, nursing, public safety, sales, management, pastoral and social work. An acting background is helpful, but is not required for acceptance to UMKC’s SP Program.
SPs at UMKC School of Medicine
Standardized patients are an evidence-based evaluation resource used by international medical schools for decades. As UMKC’s program has evolved and grown into a vital 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. Many SPs also work in smaller-scale encounters, such as classroom learning environments for all levels of medical students and residents.
UMKC campus and Hospital Hill partnerships
UMKC’s standardized patients also assist with assessments in other UMKC programs, including for UMKC’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (Nurse Practitioner) 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).
Truman Medical Center’s security department utilizes UMKC SPs for communication simulations for officers working throughout the TMC network. While those scenarios do not revolve around patient care, they allow officers to practice de-escalation techniques in a safe environment. This is an important part of continuing education for security professionals.
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.
Park University also utilizes UMKC’s SPs for their nursing education program, located in Parkville, Missouri.
St. Luke’s College of Health Sciences in Kansas City, MO 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.
Joining UMKC Standardized Patient Program
UMKC Standardized Patient Program accepts applications year-round. Applications for the 2019-2020 academic year will be reviewed at the end of the Spring, 2019 semester.
Selection of new SPs is based on projected needs and available vacancies in the SP program. Employment is contingent on candidates meeting University employment requirements, which include passing a criminal background check. Please note that SP work is irregular and hours are not guaranteed. As irregular, part-time employees, SPs are not eligible for University benefits.
To apply to UMKC’s Standardized Patient Program, please access UMKC’s job application portal. Click on “view jobs” to access all available opportunities at UMKC, and to read application guidelines prior to forwarding materials. To locate the UMKC SP Program job listing, search for “School of Medicine Standardized Patient 66216”, with Job ID 23559.
Courtney McCain, BS, NRP
Coordinator, Standardized Patient Program
UMKC School of Medicine
Clinical Training Facility
2411 Holmes, Kansas City, MO 64108