• Medical student and standardized patient. (c). UC Davis Regents. All rights reserved.

About Standardized Patients

To learn more about the standardized patient program, please email hs-standardizedpatients@ucdavis.edu or call 916-734-5201.

UC Davis Health utilizes standardized patients as part of the clinical training program for students enrolled at the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. Standardized patients are people trained to portray the characteristics of a real patient during an encounter with a learner. These patient actors play a wide variety of roles ranging from someone needing a routine physical exam to a patient who is dying from cancer. Students interact with the standardized patients in small group settings and clinics, under the supervision of experienced clinicians. This provides a safe environment for students to practice the skills necessary to conduct a successful medical encounter, building their confidence and knowledge before they interact with real-life patients. The learning is experiential and stimulated by interactions with the standardized patient and feedback from faculty and peers. 

See frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Standardized Patient Responsibilities

Standardized patients are responsible for:

  • Memorizing a patient persona and relevant background information, such as past medical history and allergies, as well as symptoms and other details related to the medical complaint being explored in the patient scenario. The character and symptoms must be portrayed in a manner that is as believeable as possible.
  • Undergoing limited physical examinations, such as the student taking pulses, listening for breath and heart sounds, taking blood pressure, and other routine procedures.
  • Providing written and oral feedback to the learner about the completeness and quality of the interaction, helping students improve their interpersonal skills. 
  • Being punctual and reliable as classes and exams cannot be rescheduled once set and the students rely on our standardized patients to show up as promised.

Becoming a Standardized Patient

We seek a diverse cast of standardized patients and desire participants of any age, race, ethnicity, religion, physical type, gender identity and sexual orientation. While many of our standardized patients are professional actors, previous acting experience is not required and we welcome anyone in the community interested in helping our students grow as medical practitioners. Standardized patients are employed on an intermittent basis as contractors and paid a per diem rate for their work. Our program recruits standardized patients year-round and we frequently hold auditions via Zoom, followed by in-person callbacks.

If you are interested in becoming a standardized patient, please contact us at hs-standardizedpatients@ucdavis.edu.