Standardized Patient Program

Standardized Patient Program

Baylor College of Medicine's Simulation Program for Clinical Performance Improvement trains qualified individuals to teach and evaluate medical students, residents, and others in a simulation lab setting. It can be used for teaching and testing a variety of skills for not only students but residents, practicing physicians and nurses. Our standardized patients, or SPs, go through a rigorous training process that prepares them for "performances," which we call their scripted interactions with the students.


It is the standardized patient’s job to carry out an assigned simulation. In our simulations, medical students interview and/or perform physical examinations on standardized patients (SPs). We may videotape the simulations (with prior written consent of the SP) for student and/or instructor review or for use in training new standardized patients.


For many simulations, students conduct history-taking interviews, just as doctors take them in an initial visit. In others, the students educate standardized patients about diseases, lab tests, or treatments, and sometimes negotiate with SPs about treatment options. Usually, simulations are done on a one-to-one basis (SP and student), but occasionally an observer may be in the room.

Physical Exams

In some simulations, students conduct physical examinations in order to learn the "hands-on" exam process. No physical exam is invasive, such as rectal or genital examinations, but some may include wearing a gown for heart, lung, and abdominal examinations. If a case involves a physical examination, standardized patients are informed before they are asked to attend the training session for the project.


Standardized patients receive training for all interviews and physical exams. See more information about training sessions.