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Information for Current Standardized Patients

So you are one of the lucky ones to become a Standardized Patient, or for short we like to call you our SP.  Welcome to the family!  You will find that our little family is a lot of fun, challenging at times and very supportive. No matter how long you have been a Standardized Patient, whether it is your first day or you have been here from the start, it is always a good idea to go over the skills that make you such a great SP.  All of us are here to help you become and maintain being great Standardized Patient.

I am new. Can you tell what to expect on my first case?

First off, welcome! Standardized Patients are scheduled mainly for Structured Clinical Skill Sessions or short SCS.  These weekly sessions provide our 1st and 2nd-year medical students an opportunity to interact with a variety of patients.

SCS sessions are scheduled every Tuesday and Thursday morning, with the occasional Wednesday morning as well.  Our students work in small groups of 4-5 with a physician preceptor.  You will be assigned to one case to portray to two different groups.

Here is what a typical morning looks like:

9:00am-9: 30 am – The SPs will meet in the SP lounge to prepare for the session.  This is a time where we can go over last minute questions as well as perform a quick round-robin with your trainer to make sure everyone is portraying the case the same.

9:30am-You will be brought to your first clinical room and be asked to wait until called in.  The Program Coordinator will knock on the door to tell the group that their patient is waiting.

9:30am-10: 30 am– You will have your first encounter with a student in a clinical room.  The other students and preceptor with be observing from another room via two-way glass or television monitor.  Once the encounter ends, the rest of the group (students and preceptor) will join you and begin the feedback session.  During the feedback session, the preceptor will ask you to provide some feedback to the student who interviewed you.  Depending on the preceptor, you will either be asked to stay or leave the room where you will head back to the SP lounge.

10:30am-You will be brought to your second clinical room and be asked to wait until called in.  The Program Coordinator will knock on the door to tell the group that their patient is waiting.

10:30am-11: 30 am– You will have your second encounter with a student.  The same format as above will occur.

11:30am-12: 00 pm– The SPs gather in the SP lounge to discuss the session and debrief.

Then you get to go home!

What is expected of me during a case training?

First, please arrive on time.

Second, it is expected that you have read the case and are coming to training prepared.  We don’t expect you to have it all memorized but 80% is good.

Thirdly, please expect to stay the entire training session.  Most cases can be trained anywhere from 1-2 hours.  However, there may be instances where training may be scheduled to for longer.  Leaving early could mean that you miss some important information discussed or asked about the case and we wouldn’t want you to miss it.

Fourthly, bring any questions you have to the training.  Any question is a good question.  Remember, your trainers put a lot of time, research and effort into case training so they love it when you ask them questions or make suggestions to make training better.

Remember when it comes to the actual case encounter, Standardized Patients are required to:

  • memorize a patient’s background
  • portray appropriate behaviours and emotions
  • answer the student’s questions accordingly
  • a balance between giving too much information and not enough information
  • provide feedback to the student with respect to their communication skills during the encounter
  • refrain from speaking with the students or physician “out of role” before or during the session
  • exhibit sensitivity and respect for other beliefs, opinions, gender, race, culture, religion, sexual preference and status

What do I do if I can’t make it to the training session or case encounter?

We get it.  Life happens and we all get sick or someone we love gets sick or maybe you have an appointment you can’t get out of.  We know.  But please just let us know as soon as you do.  The more time you give us, the more time we have to find a replacement or schedule another training time.

Just so you are aware, when a Standardized Patient does not show up to a training session or an encounter with no notice of cancellation, the following policies apply:

  • 1st no show- verbal warning
  • 2nd no show- written warning
  • 3rd no show- termination from the Program

We wouldn’t want that to happen.

It should be noted that if an SP should cancel or not show up on the encounter day, the SP will not be paid for the training session they attended.

What do I wear during a physical exam?

During physical exams, Standardized Patients are required to wear a hospital gown.

Female SPs should wear:

  • a sports bra
  • loose pants like yoga pants or jogging pants
  • proper underwear (no thongs)

Male SPs should wear:

  • boxers or briefs
  • loose pants like jogging pants or athletic pants

During the physical exams, students are expected to drape the SPs appropriately to avoid any unnecessary exposure.  It should be noted that some students are better at it than others.  However, there are some specific sessions were exposure of the chest will be expected.  For female SPs this means being exposed without a bra.  For male SPs this means having your chest exposed for long periods of time.  This exposure is during:

  • breast exams
  • cardiology exams
  • respiratory exams

Please remember, we do not expect you to participate in any physical examination that would make you feel uncomfortable.  The Standardized Patient Program Coordinator will provide you will all the information about the session so you can make an informed decision.

I need some help with feedback what should I do?

Don’t worry.  We all struggle with feedback at one point or another.  Remember providing positive and constructive feedback to the students is one of the most important but most challenging skills you will do as a Standardized Patient.  Talk to your Trainer for tips on how to give better feedback as well as look through our Guide for Effective Feedback and see if that helps.

Here are some points to think about when giving feedback to a student.

  • Focus your feedback on what you saw and heard and how you experienced it.
  • Always give your feedback from your perspective as the patient.
  • Remember to use ‘I’ statements.  For example, when you said “That sounds really difficult to manage.  How are you coping?”  I felt heard and understood and it made me feel like you truly cared.
  • Be aware of the student’s verbal and non-verbal responses.
  • Keep it simple and be specific.
  • Remember to make eye contact with the student and not the tutor.


Also, we know that giving feedback is one of the hardest parts of your job but please remember not to:

  • Comment on the medical content of the case
  • Comment on your own personal experiences
  • Comment on the student’s hygiene, attire or appearance
  • Comment on what they missed
  • Use judgmental terms such as “you should have, ” or “you could have”
  • Compare students or tutors
  • Lecture the students.  Remember you are an SP and not the Tutor.


What are some TIPS for being a successful Standardized Patient?

First I recommend you read your handbook designed just for you.  We get it, you probably haven’t read it since you were hired, but there are tons of tips to help you become or stay a successful SP (plus it gets updated every year so we don’t want you to miss out on information).  If you are up for the read here is the link Handbook and Procedure Manual for SPs

Here is a quick link for Tips for Successful SPs.

Also, we know that all of our Standardized Patients are awesome but remember here are some things that are frowned upon:

  • Discussing the cases outside of NOSM.  Remember you are not to share case details with anyone not involved in training.
  • Discussing the student’s performance outside of NOSM.  While it is appropriate to discuss performance during debriefings, training etc., these should be discussed without identifying the student.
  • Eating or drinking during a case portrayal.  Unless its part of your case props, there are no water bottles, coffee etc. allowed.
  • Cell phones in the SCS session.  Please leave your phones in the SP lounge.  There is nothing more annoying than hearing someone’s phone vibrate or play some song until it goes to voicemail.
  • Hmmm…how to put this.  Please maintain proper hygiene.  For the comfort of our learners, please come freshly showered if you get what I mean.  But Ladies (and some Gents) that also means leave the perfume or cologne at home.

What if I move or change banking?

First, let the Standardized Patient Coordinator know of the changes and they may direct you to the finance department or you may need to fill in a new banking form.  Personal Direct Deposit Information.

When can I expect to get paid?

ContentAlthough the Standardized Patient Coordinators are great at putting in your hours, it should be noted to please allow 2 – 5 weeks for payment.  If payment is not received in the expected time period, please contact your Program Coordinator.

Although we don’t require time cards in the Thunder Bay/ Lakehead, there are times in Sudbury/ Laurentian that you will be required to fill one a SP Time Card out if you would like to get paid.  You can fill one out here: Standardized Patient TIME CARD. If you are unsure of whether you fill one out or not, please contact your Standardized Patient Program Coordinator and ask.

What to bring to an OSCE?

First off, if you didn’t already know, OSCE stands for Ontario Structured Clinical Exams.  Quite a mouthful and that’s why we shortened it to OSCE.  Any SP who has participated in them will tell you that they are a lot of fun.  It is also a long day so here are some tips to make it seem shorter.

  • Bring a book to read
  • Bring a cross-word or Suduko to do
  • Write all those letters you have been meaning to write
  • Study for school
  • Bring snacks or food
  • Bring your phone or tablet
  • Knit
  • Bring slippers or a sweater (it can get chilly especially if you are doing a physical exam)

Basically, make sure you have something silent to do while you are waiting between sessions.  Our students study very hard, we don’t need them distracted by talking and chatter.


Our Team

Erica Dzuba
Lakehead Campus/Thunder Bay
Standardized Patient Program Coordinator
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Lakehead University, MS-1009
955 Oliver Rd, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1
Phone: 807- 766- 7335
Fax:  807- 766 -7356


Yolette Brant
Laurentian Campus/Sudbury
Standardized Patient Program Coordinator
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Laurentian University, MS- 145
935 Ramsey Lake Road
Sudbury, Ontario P3E 2C6
Phone: 705- 622- 7255
Fax:  705- 622- 7192


Julie Ktytor
Lakehead Campus/Thunder Bay
Standardized Patient Trainer
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Lakehead University, MS-2011
955 Oliver Rd
Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 5E1
Phone: 807- 766- 7434


Kelly Merla
Laurentian Campus/Sudbury
Standardized Patient Trainer
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Laurentian University, MSE 146
935 Ramsey Lake Road,
Sudbury, Ontario, P3E 2C6
Phone: 705- 662- 7139