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Standardized Patient getting ready to play role as scrub nurse
Standardized Patient getting ready to play role as scrub nurse

Standardized Patients (SP) are integrated into many of the rotations and core training for the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and School of Pharmacy. They are also utilized in specialty specific training throughout UNC Health Care.


SPs are utilized for education of communication skills. These encounters can range from one on one consultation to being another member of the care team working with a patient or patient simulator.

The CSPSC team also coordinates SP encounters for in-situ encounters as well as locations throughout the state involved in the longitudinal curriculum.


Research involving SPs has been done for decades at UNC. In many cases, these projects involve evaluation of clinical learning and teamwork skills.


CSPSC_floorplanThe CSPSC houses 16 fully functioning patient examination rooms, a monitoring room for viewing student encounters, one 35-person classroom, one 48-person classroom. With over 45 computers and 47 high-quality cameras, the CSPSC has a state-of-the-art ability to perform student evaluation and data gathering. During testing, two fully-adjustable cameras capture the encounter between student and patient, and questions are answered by both parties on the computers inside and outside of each room. The LearningSpace software coordinates all those functions and packages the data with an easy to use, web-accessible system. Many different setups and encounter styles are possible, giving users a wide range of options in testing.


The first publication of standardized patients at UNC was published in 1983. These simulations were used to train and evaluate clinicians communication skills during telephone conversations.

In 2017, the first place research abstract was awarded to a research project at UNC by the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare that included mixed modality simulations for ACGME milestone assessment (1).


  1. Stiegler M, Martinelli S, Chen F, Arora H, Hobbs GW, Isaak R. Validity of Simulation-based Assessments for ACGME Milestone Achievement. 17th International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare. January 2017.

Posts about simulation activities utilizing Standardized Patients

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