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Become a Standardized Patient (SP)

iCELS-standardized-patient-simulation-diverse-inclusive-demographic-USA-New-England-Massachusetts-Boston-Worcester-recruit-hire-SP.jpgWhat is a Standardized Patient (SP)?

  • SPs come from all walks of life, all races, ethnicities, abilities, ages and genders.
  • SPs are everyday people who form part of an educational team at UMass Chan Medical School.
  • SPs look and act like an actual patient.
  • SPs receive training to accurately and consistently portray the personal history, physical findings as well as personality traits of an individual patient in a realistic and repeatable (standardized) way.
  • SPs help medical learners learn how to interact with patients.

If you are interested in a program that help you develop the skills of portraying as a patient as well as assessing and coaching medical learners or future clinicians of all levels, join us! We are part of a simulation team that acts under the instruction of faculty members to support a medical education session's medical learning objectives. These may include:

  • Simulating patients with medical conditions and/or emotional as well as communication challenges
  • Evaluating, scoring, and coaching your learner, in accordance to faculty-defined competencies for the session
  • Growing in the profession by attending additional training on how to help medical students learn proper physical examination techniques - in addition, SPs may choose to take on further training for advanced PEs involving the female breast, pelvic and male genitourinary system

Have you heard about this profession before? Standardized Patients, often referred to as SPs, have also been referred to over time as Standardized Participants, Simulated Patients, Patient Instructors, Patient Models, Patient Actors, Sample Patients, Surrogate Patients, Professional Patients, Physical Exam Instructors, Physical Exam Teaching Associates (PETA) or Gynecological / Genitourinary Teaching Associates (GTA, GUTA, MUTA), depending on the scope and context of the works involved.

iCELS-100-SPs-since-1982.jpgPart of the Longest-running Simulation Program in This Region

Since 1982, UMass Chan Medical School SPs have been respected and in demand as skilled instructors and evaluators to effectively work with medical students, physician assistant candidates, nursing students, residents and practicing clinicians all over New England.

Today, multi-station OSCE’s (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations) utilizing SPs as a rater for the medical learners' communication and physical exam skills, have become an assessment instrument of choice in medical education.

SPs at UMass Chan Medical School are carefully trained to work as a team to role play or portray a broad range of specific medical conditions as defined by the faculty members, to realistically and consistently simulate patient encounters. SPs are also trained to evaluate and document learner performance in accordance with a validated tool such as Master Interview Rating Scale (MIRS), then deliver written and verbal feedback using techniques including, but not limited to, "Oreo" that are aimed at optimizing the learner's education experience.

The fulfilling work means that some SPs at UMass Chan Medical School iCELS SP Program have been with the program since 1982, some since the 90s, some joined in recent years, or even months. We maintain a community of SPs to meet specific demographic requirements of the case scenarios. UMass Chan Medical School iCELS SP Program also prides itself for an SP Development Program whereby SPs grow from stage to stage in your career:

  • Stage 1: SP Onboarding

A series of foundational SP training takes place

  • Stage 2: Event Training

SP develops 5 competencies:
i) Mastering history and case content
ii) Case portrayal
iii) Assessing focused physical exams
iv) Scoring accuracy
v) Feedback to the learners

  • Stage 3: SP Development

Most SPs enjoy this stage the most and become increasingly experienced in handling a range of complex case scenarios, scoring requirements and feedback situations

  • Stage 4: Instructor Development

For those who are interested to advance further, demonstrate an interest in facilitating more learning methods as well as a sense of commitment towards the training program

  • Concurrent: Operations Support Training

SPs who meet criteria and are interested, can also be engaged in cross-training for other available functions ranging from Reception, Event Monitoring and Proctoring, to Medical School Admissions Interviewing

A Culture of Collaboration 

Our program has also moved beyond the realm of UMass Chan Medical School and provides academic services to medical schools, area hospitals, academic nursing and physician assistant programs in the New England region. The program continues to make inroads as an active participant in Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Graduate Medical Education (GME) courses.

As a majority of sessions are held onsite at Worcester, Boston, Springfield and other locations mostly in the New England region, SPs should anticipate a need to travel to the assigned locations. Selected cases may also be held online via secured Zoom sessions requiring reliable equipment including a computer or mobile device, as well as internet connection.

Level of Commitment from You

Being an SP is a meaningful per diem work where you get to partner and see various medical learners grow over time. Upon hiring you will be enrolled in the UMass Chan Medical School Human Resources as a per diem employee of the state of Massachusetts. The program manages a wide range of simulations. Some involve a general population, while others may require many standardized patients of a very specific demographic in order to meet specific educational goals as defined by its faculty. Hours may vary widely, depending upon the educational objectives and demographics required of each assignment, as well as the academic calendar (March, April and May being the busiest time of the year; June or July the least).

Minimum Requirements

While some SPs enrich our shared experience with their background in acting, healthcare, education or communication, the program warmly welcomes a diverse range of individuals. Regardless of your previous training, you are representing a member of the community in our society today!

There are, however, requirements for you to effectively participate in the program and dependably be there for our learners. You must:

  • Have reliable transportation
  • Be reachable by mobile phone, in case of last-minute changes before and during events
  • Have a personal email account to access initial program correspondence, and have working familiarity with basic internet applications (i.e. browser, email, printing Word or PDF at home, etc.).
  • Be willing to wear a hospital gown with only undergarments underneath (as you would at a clinic visit), during simulation of clinical encounters with medical learners
  • Be willing to be physically examined (at the very basic - heart, lung and abdominal exams as you would expect at a clinic visit)
  • Have strong interpersonal skills and ability to communicate articulately
  • Exhibit appropriate personal appearance, hygiene and professional behavior when acting as a representative of the Standardized Patient Program
  • Observe case/learner confidentiality and conduct oneself in a respectful manner in the diverse and inclusive SP community
  • Agree to complete all scheduled trainings so as to acquire competency in the assigned cases, to the satisfaction of the Standardized Patient event managers/trainers/faculty/learners and commit to the program for at least one year's duration

Apply Now

STEP 1: Register your interest to participate in the upcoming Informational Session

STEP 2: After we have reviewed your registration of interest, you will receive an invitation and details on how to join us at the next Informational Session. At this session, we will meet with all interested parties, get you oriented on the program's requirements and answer your questions. This will also help you evaluate if you'd like to go forward with an official application to become a Per Diem staff with the UMass Chan Medical School iCELS Standardized Patient Program.

STEP 3: After we have met the Information Session, you can submit an official application to become a Per Diem staff with UMass Chan Medical School Human Resource to join the iCELS Standardized Patient Program. If you need assistance completing this HR process, please contact us at 508-856-5434. We look forward to hearing from you!