What is a Standardized Patient?

Standardized Patients (SP) are individuals trained to realistically depict a patient with a particular condition in a consistent, standardized and reproducible manner. In collaboration with the faculty, SPs are utilized during instruction and evaluation of the learners across various clinical skills such as history-taking, physical examination, patient education, and effective communication in the simulated environment.

Why Use a Standardized Patient?

The utilization of SPs has become a well-established instructional and evaluative approach within nursing and medical education. With over fifty years of refinement and scholarly inquiry, the SP methodology has been rigorously studied for its educational impact, authenticity and its reliability and accuracy as an assessment tool.

A well-trained SP is objective and controllable, while the simulation is standardized and can be tailored to specific situations outlined by faculty or designer of the exercise. When simulations are standardized, the results can be more objective, systematic and more uniform from one person, or session, to another. Simulation provides participants with the opportunity to work in a structured, safe environment, and can provide immediate and objective feedback using detailed and consistent criteria.

The use of standardized patients allows the students to apply newly acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) at the bedside in an environment that does not put a student or an actual patient at risk. This patient-centered learning tool prepares learners to become effective nurses who will have a significant positive impact on the community in which he or she practices.

The Standardized Patient was created to provide experiential learning for students and performance assessment of their clinical competence. Our SPs are co-creators of a world that needs to feel, smell, sound, and look as real as if it were the world of an actual patient being seen and treated by a practicing nurse.

Standardized Patient Program Details

Attendance of orientation session is required for all SPs.

The orientation session will include:

  1. Introduction
  2. Plan and Goals
  3. Questionnaire and information gathering
  4. Specific Sim expectations
  5. Expectations of scheduling and sign-ups
  6. Payment process and how to sign up as a vendor
  7. Tour of the facilities

Each year, an information session and a spring wrap-up session will be held. These sessions allow the SP to give feedback on the program, and to prepare for any program improvements for the next academic year.


SPs will be used in a variety of scenarios including physical assessment, non-invasive procedures and portraying family members or friends in a variety of situations.

Standardized Patient Roles

Head to Toe Final Assessment:
Sophomore Level
Students complete a Head-to-Toe Assessment on our Standardized Patient (SP). The patient presents to the doctor’s office for a check-up.  The students will not perform breast, pelvic, genital, or rectal exams. They will not perform invasive procedures such as drawing blood or throat cultures. They will use a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. 

Diabetic Home Health:
Junior 1
Students visit a diabetic patient in our Home Health simulated environment. The students provide care to the patient in a calm, caring manner while providing education to the patient about their diabetes. The Standardized Patient plays the role of the Diabetic patient. The SP is supplied with a script and objectives for the simulation. 

End of Life Simulation:
Junior 1
Students are caring for a patient that has suffered a lethal heart attack.  The SP plays the role of the significant other. Students will interact with the SP, providing compassion, comfort, and support. The SP is supplied with a script and objectives for the simulation. 

Junior 2 
Students are caring for an SP that is simulating they are having a stroke.  The students will perform a stroke assessment and activate the required care to minimize a life altering situation for the patient. The SP is supplied with a script and objectives for the simulation. 

Pediatric Multi-Patient Prioritization Simulation:
Senior 1 
Students are managing the care of four pediatric patients to determine which patient requires immediate attention. Our SP’s play the role of guardians to 2 of the 4 patients.  Students will educate and ask questions of the guardians while providing support and understanding. The SP is supplied with a script and objectives for the simulation. 

A Standardized Patient can pick and choose the simulations they are interested in being involved with. 

Support Characters Within Scenarios

An SP can be asked to play a specific role within a simulation. This role can be more of a supporting character and not just the main one. An example: you may be asked to play the role of a mother or father as a character. During these incidents the SP will be given specific instruction on what will be needed based on this role. 


Each student-patient activity has an evaluative piece to it or a debrief. An evaluation check list will be available in the simulation room and the SP should complete the check list for each student encounter. The SP will follow the student to the debriefing room and give the student any feedback at the beginning of the debriefing.  After the SP feedback is complete, the SP is free to leave the room while the instructor goes over any additional feedback with the student. 

Sign-ups for SP Assessments

A Sign-up Genius Link will be provided that allows you to access a schedule for each simulation event. Please sign up for time slots directly in Sign-up Genius.  The time slots are for 4-hour blocks, and you may sign up for a 4 or 8-hour shift.

Once signed up, we ask that you arrive 15 minutes before your time to settle you into your role for the day. 

Cancellation Policy

Please contact us 24 hours in advance if you are unable to make your shift.  We understand emergencies do happen, so please let us know as soon as possible by calling 804-287-6700. If there is no answer, please leave a message.

The educational activities you are participating in are a vital part of our curriculum and require all participants to be available and punctual. If cancellations are frequent or you are a no call no show you will be restricted from signing up further.

Vendor Invoice

Once you've made the decision to join the SP program, registration as a vendor within the BSHSI system is required using the link provided during orientation.

You may use this invoice if desired, or your own if you have one. Please download a copy, fill out the invoice and email back to the CSLC mailbox: BSV-ClinSimLearn@bshsi.org

We will also have paper copies in the CSLC which you can fill in at the time of the event and leave with the CSLC assistant/receptionist.  


Email: Bsv-ClinSimLearn@bshsi.org
Phone: 804-287-6700

Need Tech Help?

Need Tech Help?

Start A Chat

New Chat