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, OSCE

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

Being a standardized patient is rewarding yet hard work, and we demand a high level of job performance from our standardized patients. We also appreciate flexibility.

What do we expect of our standardized patients?

  • To arrive on time and be dressed appropriately
  • To review the case material and portray the patient as trained
  • To maintain the confidentiality of the materials, which are used in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine program only
  • To maintain confidentiality about the participating students
  • To complete evaluation forms provided after the session
  • To enjoy being 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 interested in becoming a standardized patient at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, please contact Heidi Lane.