Standardized Patient

Position Open: 1/1/16 - Open
Hours of Work: Per Diem - Paid as Stipend - Approx. 20 hrs./mo.


PNWU is seeking very part-time persons to serve as standardized patients. Standardized Patients (SP) are used today in the education of health professionals by providing opportunities in shaping their future in medical education.  The concept was introduced in 1963 then slowly spread throughout the medical profession in North America to both train and evaluate the communication and clinical skills in both osteopathic (DO) and allopathic (MD) medical schools.  Today the use of SP’s in teaching and evaluating health professional’s takes place throughout the world.

As a standardized patient at Pacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU) you will be trained to portray, in a consistent, standardized manner, a patient in a medical situation.  You will be required to simulate the “patient’s” history, physical findings, and emotions in a repeatable and standardized manner. 

Your encounters for examination will include appointments you may see in your urgent care or family care doctor’s office.  These would include listening to heart sounds, lung sounds, abdominal sounds; looking in your nose, ears, eyes, mouth; taking a blood pressure; checking your reflexes and muscle strength; and performing gentle osteopathic manipulative treatments. The medical students are NOT allowed to perform any breast exams, pelvic exams, rectal exams, corneal reflex testing, or HVLA (high velocity low amplitude) techniques.  You will not be asked to take any type of medication nor have any blood or body samples taken for testing at any time during the exam.  Since this is a hands-on examination, students will be required to lower your gown, touch, palpate, and examine the SP based on the chief complaint of the encounter.

Your training will include learning to observe and document the performance of explicit clinical behaviors for your specific case that must be performed by your trainee. These behaviors take place in three domains: history-taking, physical examination and communication/counseling.  Each case we will train you to observe and document something different. 

What Makes an Ideal SP?

To be selected into the standardized patient program here at PNWU we require that:

  • You are reliable and show up for all scheduled training classes, return emails/phone calls, show up on scheduled exam days, and arrive no later than 30 minutes before a scheduled exam.
  • Confidentiality: You must have the ability to maintain the highest confidentiality by not discussing any testing material that is given to you or on any students’ testing performance with anyone outside of PNWU.
  • Memory Recall:  To have the ability to accurately recollect all questions the student asked and what specific physical exams were performed during all examinations on an encounter day.
  • Follow Direction:  PNWU runs our clinical skills department in a specific manner.  You will be required to follow these directions during training and examination time.
  • Equality in scoring:  To completely understand how to accurately score as a standardized patient is done without any biases, but solely on how the student performed.
  • Accuracy:  To be able to deliver only the fact of your role as the patient you are playing and have it done consistently ensuring fair and equal treatment.
  • Conflicts of Interest:  With confidential testing information here at PNWU, we cannot accept standardized patients whose family members are students here at the university.
  • Maintain Consistency:  During your encounter your number one job will be to maintain consistency and quality for each student’s experience during the history, physical, and treatment phase of the examination.

How Often do SPs work?

There will be two schedules that go out for the year; the fall and the spring semester.  You will be given the dates and times of the encounters and asked for your availabilities of these dates.  Based on the completion of your training and how much time you are available will depend upon the number of exams you will take part in.  Currently our exams take place in the morning and afternoon on Monday’s and Tuesday’s.  If you repeatedly are unavailable for training classes or fail to show up on time or not at all for exams you may be dismissed from the SP program.

What experience do I need to become a SP?

We are looking for people from various backgrounds and experiences, all ages, ethnic groups, and physical types whose number one interests is in fostering the education and personal health of our students.  It is important that they have excellent communication skills, good recollection, learn quickly, and have the patience to work with those who are developing new skills.

How do I apply??

If you are interested in our SP Program, please complete the application

We are looking for people:

  • From various professional backgrounds
  • Of all ages
  • With excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • With a genuine interest in helping students learn
  • With reasonably flexible hours
  • Who are comfortable with their own health
  • Who feel confident dealing with health professionals
  • Who are reliable and punctual

Your application will be reviewed by our clinical skills department to determine if you will be called in for an information session.  At that time you will be asked to fill out the Washington State Patrol Request for Identification and Criminal History Information form.  Once you have been cleared by our Human Resource Department you will be called back to begin your training sessions.

PNWU is a drug-free workplace, equal opportunity employer and educational institution. To request this publication in an alternative format, please call Human Resources, 509.452.5100.