Standardized Patient Program

Standardized Patient Program

One way in which the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine relies on the Roanoke community is for participants in its Standardized Patient Program. Drawn from the surrounding areas, a standardized patient is someone who has been trained to simulate, in a consistent, standardized manner, a patient in a medical situation.

Standardized patients are used by the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and by many other medical institutions, to train and evaluate students. Each standardized patient learns a case, based on a real patient other than themselves, and is then interviewed and examined by students as though they were that person in the doctor’s office or clinic. The medical students are well aware that the standardized patients are not actual patients, and the method allows students to practice before they work with real patients in a controlled, risk-free environment.

Becoming a standardized patient

While some of the standardized patients are actors, no prior acting experience is needed. The school teaches its patients everything they need to know before starting. And while some standard procedures are used during the examination – including listening with a stethoscope, pressing on the abdomen in search for tenderness or swelling, taking blood pressure measurements, etc. – no needles are used and there is no risk involved.

If you are interested in learning more about our Standardized Patients, see our Standardized Patient FAQ page. And if you are interested in helping the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine train outstanding doctors, see our recruitment page


Heidi Lane
Senior Director of Evaluation and Assessment
Work Phone: 540-526-2505