A nationwide survey of standardized patients: Who they are, what they do, and how they experience their work

Keiko Abe, Debra Roter, Lori H. Erby, Nobutaro Ban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Standardized or simulated patients are widely used in medical training, however, little is known about these individuals and their work experience. The current study was designed to describe the SP workforce and gain insight into the routine tasks, challenges and rewards associated with their work. Methods: Using the full 2005 membership list (n = 450) of Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE), one SP educator for each medical school across all states was identified, representing a total of 87 different medical schools. Fifty-seven (65%) of the SP educators approached agreed to participate in the study and distribute surveys to 10 SPs in each program. Results: 255 (45%) of the distributed surveys were returned representing the experience of SPs in 57 medical schools across all 6 ASPE geographic regions. Specifics in regard to work scheduling and compensation are reported with some regional differences noted in pay. On the whole, SPs were highly satisfied with their work, but roughly half reported some difficulty with elements of case mastery and providing feedback to learners. Conclusion: SP satisfaction is high but challenges in case mastery and feedback tasks are evident. Practice implications: Meeting training needs can enhance the utility and effectiveness of this workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-264
Number of pages4
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Difficulty
  • Feedback
  • Nationwide survey
  • Payment
  • Standardized patient
  • Work experiences
  • Work satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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