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Information for Actors

Photo by Anthony DeCarlo
Standardized Patient Program
In order to offer students opportunities to train with SPs who accurately reflect the patients with whom they will be working, the TLC makes it a priority to recruit SPs who represent a wide range of ages, ethnicities, and other forms of diversity.

Yale's standardized patients (SPs) are selected for the program because of their acting ability and their desire to contribute to the education of future physicians. Their ages range from 20 to over 80.

New standardized patients receive training in how to interact with students during simulated health care encounters. They also collaborate with the program director in developing a character and preparing specific clinical scenarios. Although standardized patients improvise when interacting with students, their responses and behaviors are predictable or "standardized." Training continues "on the job" with frequent feedback from faculty and periodic adjustments in scripts.

The SPs learn the principles and techniques of the patient-centered model of interviewing. They also learn to modulate their verbal and non-verbal responses to students' behaviors. For example, a student's open-ended question would likely be answered with a narrative, whereas a closed-ended question is more likely to be answered with a fact. Frequent interruptions by a student might result in an SP being silent. Emotional support from a student might heighten trust and result in an SP revealing critical diagnostic data.

An important task for our SPs is to help ensure the safety of the learning environment by responding appropriately to a range of students' individual abilities and learning needs.

How to Apply to be a Standardized Patient

We generally hire actors once a year based upon program needs; however, we keep an active file of potential actors. You are welcome to apply at any point by sending your CV and headshot (or current photo) to SP Program Manager Barbara Hildebrand (barbara.hildebrand@yale.edu).