Frequently Asked Questions About Standardized Patients
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What is a Standardized or Simulated Patient (SP)?
The terms standardized patient and simulated patient (SP) are used synonymously at the NCSL. An SP is a person trained to simulate a patient in realistic and repeatable – or standardized – way. The interactions they have with learners – or students – is an example of experiential education and is primarily used in assessment contexts.
Because SPs can offer unique insight from the patients point of view, the University of Kansas School of Medicine utilizes them in the training and evaluation of medical students and residents.
As an SP, you will be interviewed and examined by medical students or residents, just as you would by your family doctor. However, instead of disclosing your personal medical, family and bio-social history, you will answer questions based on the “facts” of the “patient case” that you have learned.
The idea of using SPs was developed in 1963 by a neurologist, Dr. Howard S. Barrows. Now most medical schools in the United States utilize SPs for teaching and testing medical students. Although SPs do not replace real patients in the curriculum, they do provide a realistic learning resource for students.
Is an SP an Actor?
The term actor is sometimes used to refer to an SP, but you do not have to be an actor to be an SP.
“While both SPs and actors are performing roles, and acting practices and theories can inform SP work, the scope of what an SP and an actor does is very different. In general, actors are fulfilling the objectives of a playwright and/or a director and perform for an audience. In healthcare simulation, actors may be hired to perform in an educational activity; however, as SPs, they are doing something different from actors. They are part of an educational team, focused on fulfilling the learning objectives of a simulation activity in service to learners.” - The Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE), Standards of Best Practice (SOBP)
The examinations that you may partake in are instructional and are not to be considered a formal and complete medical evaluation. The supervising physician and/or learner does not replace your primary care physician.
The Role of a Standardized Patient (SP)
SPs have a great responsibility in positively influencing the education and training of future health care providers.
Trained to accurately and consistently portray the medical background, physical condition, and emotional state of a patient, SPs provide learners and practicing healthcare professionals with opportunities to practice, observe, and interpret feedback that may otherwise not be available throughout their training.
Will I Have to Grade the Student?
You will not be asked to give any student or resident a grade. You will be asked to complete a checklist as a record of the encounter. Some of our programs also require SPs to provide both positive and constructive verbal feedback to the learners or residents as well.
Will I Have to Remove My Clothing?
Hospital gowns might be worn for certain patient cases. If so, we will provide the gown and you will keep your under-garment clothing on.
Is an SP’s Personal Health History Relevant?
Yes. Since an SP is hired and trained to portray a patient with a certain medical condition, someone who has had an appendectomy cannot portray a patient with appendicitis. But that same person could play the role of a patient with chest pain or someone with a back problem. In addition, an individual who has had a great deal of experience with health care providers, either personally or on behalf of a friend or relative, is not necessarily “more qualified” to be an SP than someone who simply gets a routine check-up now and then. Having certain kinds of medical conditions or “good” or “bad” experiences with health care, is not a measure of an effective SP.
Is Acting Experience a Prerequisite to Working as an SP?
No. While actors work as SPs, the focus is on providing the student or resident with an educational opportunity, not on performance or dramatic interpretation. Playing a patient case is extremely repetitive because the same portrayal must be done for every student during a specific event.
What are SPs paid?
Compensation ranges from $15 to $25 an hour depending on the program. Standardized Patients are hired as part-time employees (without any benefits) and must submit to a background check, identity verification and payroll paper-work processing. All SP's are paid through direct deposit.
The physical examinations SPs may encounter are most commonly simple, non‐invasive examinations that the public receives from their family physician.
Usually, encounters will involve history taking, physical examination, and/or counseling (such as topics of diet and exercise, weight or stress management). Physical examinations may be brief to focus on a complaint or encompass a full and complete exam.
The learner may examine an SP by:
- Listening to the heart and lungs
- Checking reflexes
- Pressing on the stomach
- Taking a blood pressure
- Looking at the eyes, ears, nose and throat
Who Will Be Examining Me?
At the NCSL, an SP may be interviewed and/or examined by medical students, resident physicians, or other allied health students (e.g. physician assistant, nursing, etc.).
Types of SP Work
There are many levels of Standardized Patients. Pay depends on experience and invasiveness of physical exam.
- Standardized Patient (SP): This is the starting point for all simulation-based teaching and assessment. SPs must be able to accurately portray the physical and emotional criteria of a case as well as retain and assess the details of each student encounter.
- Physical Exam Teaching Assistants (PETA): PETAs are individuals trained to teach the techniques of a basic physical examination (abdominal, neurology, cardiovascular, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, head & neck (aka HEENT) and head-to-toe/multi-system). They have a medical background in healthcare and use their own body to teach the musculoskeletal exams and do so primarily without faculty supervision.
- Male Urological Teaching Assistant (MUTA): MUTAs are men who are extensively trained to teach the male genital/prostate exam medical students using their own bodies.
- Gynecological Teaching Assistant (GTA): GTAs are women who are extensively trained to teach medical students the breast and pelvic exam using their own bodies.
- Monitor/Proctor/Office Assistant: At various times, we may hire SPs to help with other aspects of our daily operations.
Occasionally, we will have a need for SPs who are willing to participate in sensitive examinations, such as breast, pelvic, genital, rectal as well as invasive procedures (blood draw, x-ray, throat cultures). The NCSL does not encourage interest in our programs based on pay, but due to the nature of the exams, the rate of pay is generally more than the typical SP.
The NCSL does not advertise hire for sensitive exams but encourages SPs who are interested in the program to email a Coordinator. A Coordinator will respond/reach out to an SP if they feel they might be a good fit for the program.
An SP is never expected or required to take part in a program that they are uncomfortable with.
SP cases are created by faculty and in coordination with Staff. They are presented as scripts. These scripts contain an outline of the issues, concerns, and complaints of the patient to be portrayed. Be aware, the patient may have very different answers or reactions than an individual SP might have personally.
How Will I Know What to Say When the Students Interview Me?
You will be given “SP facts,” or a script, detailing the current medical problem, past medical history, family and bio-social situation, emotional state and even specific verbal responses to the types of questions learners will be asking.
Common subject areas for teaching and learning with SPs include:
- taking a health history
- physical examination
- management, counseling
- challenging interactions (i.e. breaking bad news/bereavement, palliative care, end of life decisions, family violence/abuse (adult and pediatric), anger, sexual assault, addiction)
SPs are individuals hired as part-time employees for the University of Kansas School of Medicine’s Neis Clinical Skills Lab’s (NCSL) Standardized Patient Program.
All work is categorized as part-time due to the project-by-project nature of the job. SPs are not entitled to receive health insurance or other benefits. They are also not guaranteed a certain number of hours per pay period as needs vary throughout the academic calendar.
Hours of Work
We schedule standardized patient events for medical and nursing students year-round. SP work hours vary and are dependent on multiple factors.
An event can last one day or up to 10 days (usually not consecutive) and the programs are scheduled to accommodate students’ class schedule. All our programming needs are based on patient demographics, skills, experience, etc. If we do not contact you immediately it means we do not have any available programs.
Expectations and Responsibilities of an SP
To make the simulated patient program possible, our SPs must adhere to the following responsibilities and expectations:
- Realize this is an occasional job opportunity.
- Be reliable and punctual.
- Be accurate in portraying the case.
- Check your email frequently and respond promptly to confirm with Coordinators.
- Be prepared and engaged; pay attention to details and be an excellent listener.
- Be nonjudgmental about students and faculty gender, race, religion, national origin, physical characteristics, etc.
- Have strong written and verbal communication skills.
- Keep all information regarding the case, students and other patients confidential.
- Want to contribute to the training process of excellent health care professionals.
- Be willing to be videotaped for educational purposes.
- Responsible for room organization and cleanliness.
- Role-play during workshops, examinations, remediation, and lectures.
- Provide feedback from the patient’s perspective (when the case calls for it).
- Ability to take constructive criticism and make changes with a positive attitude when asked.
SP Annual Compliance
Once a year KUMC employees are required to complete an online annual compliance training. It is also required that every SP and seasonal worker complete this training.
You will receive an email from the NCSL Director, Julie Mack. This email will include a link to the module, as well as a username and pw that is unique to you. If you have trouble launching the module, try another browser; it seems to work best in Chrome. Please complete the training as soon as possible – HR would like to have everyone completed by the end of October (about 30 days). The training and exam takes about 20 minutes to complete and you will be compensated at the SP training rate of $15 per hour for 30 minutes of time (a total of $7.50).
There are two ways to complete this training:
- In the NCSL with Staff assistance.
- If you are in the lab, staff can help you get logged into one of the exam room computers and you can complete it here.
- Please sign in to the Sign-in sheet in the SP training room and indicate 30 minutes for Compliance Training.
- Or you may complete it from home.
- If you prefer to complete it from home, use the link provided in your email.
- Sign in to complete the training and Julie will get a report indicating completion.
- Once she sees you have completed the module, she will put 30 minutes in payroll for you.
What can I expect if I am hired as an SP?
Each SP is carefully screened to determine how to best use their skills and demographics. As an SP you are expected to learn “facts” about a case that you will then portray. The information you portray is not your own; all the information shared is about the fictitious person you are emulating. You will be expected to memorize this case information. Your portrayal of the case will be much like when you visit your own health care provider, except you will respond to the learner’s questions with the case facts that you have memorized.
Training time for individual roles varies and includes independent study as well as group training sessions led primarily by our Senior Coordinator, Sam Butler. Please refer to the SP Preparation for a Case heading for more information on training.
Although this job is very rewarding, it is not easy nor is it for everybody. Being an SP takes energy, memorization, discipline, attention to detail, and excellent communication skills. It requires intense concentration while being interviewed and examined. It is imperative that your performance is consistent - or standardized - so that each learner has the same experience. In other words, you must be able to consistently portray the patient’s mental and physical condition, while recalling the clinical skills behavior and techniques for multiple different learners.
How SPs Are Booked
The information obtained in the Standardized Patient Profile is confidential and necessary in helping us hire for events that are demographic specific.
The NCSL reserves the right to hire based on the upcoming needs of the program.
After you have gone through the application process and have had your phone interview with one of our Program Coordinators, you will be scheduled to come to the NCSL to take a tour of the facility and fill out employment paperwork for HR.
Please remember to bring your I-9 documentation with you – photo ID or passport – as well as a voided check for auto deposits into your bank account.
A Coordinator will request to take your headshot and photos of any obvious scars, marks or tattoos for our secure SP database. The NCSL makes a record of scars, marks and tattoos so that faculty can decipher whether those markings will adversely affect a case, complement it, or neither.
Please remember to keep us aware of any changes in your home address, contact information, as well as any physical changes that might alter your viability for cases.
The Casting Process
A NCSL Program Coordinator will choose SPs based on the following case criteria outlined by faculty:
- Physical characteristics of the patient.
- Case requirements (affect to be portrayed, case difficulty, experience)
- Ability to master the role and personality of the case.
- Ability to interact with the staff & trainees in a professional manner
- Level of experience in providing learner feedback (verbal and/or written)
- Number of times SP has interacted with this group of learners (the NCSL limits the number of interactions between a specific SP and a student)
The NCSL reserves the right to cast in a manner that best suits the event.
How We Schedule
SPs that match the prerequisites are contacted through e-mail by a Program Coordinator to determine availability and interest.
- The email will give a brief overview of the case and what will be asked of the SP, as well as what to expect (whether it’s a counseling case, physical exam, stomach palpations, etc.).
- It will list the dates/times of the event and training.
- It is very important that SPs are available to attend BOTH the training and the event day/s.
- Training for cases depends on how frequently the case runs. There is a training annually for each case that everyone is required to attend.
An email asking for your availability for an upcoming event does not mean you have been hired.
After you have responded confirming your interest and availability, the Program Coordinator casting the event will respond via email if they are confirming that you have been booked.
- The email will reiterate the dates/times you have been cast for, as well as any subsequent trainings.
- The case facts will be attached.
If there is any confusion as to whether you have been booked for an event, please contact the Program Coordinator. Once you have agreed to participate in an event and are hired by the Coordinator, your participation is fully expected, short of an emergency or illness. If an emergency or illness arises at any point during the training or pre-event process, notify the Program Coordinator immediately.
Comfort with A Role
Please be assured that you can decline, without explanation, any role you are not comfortable with (for example, portraying a cancer patient when one of your family members has been struggling with cancer). This will not preclude recruitment for future roles.
Why Wasn’t I Scheduled?
Possible reasons you aren’t booked for an event:
- Overexposure; we want learners to have different SPs for different events. (Ex. Learner Jan meeting SP Steve as patient "Pablo" one day, then encountering SP Steve as patient "Danny" the next.)
- Another SP responded with their availability before you.
- Another SP could attend all dates, not just a handful.
- The event has changed demographics/demographics/number of SPs needed/performance date/s, etc.
- You are not able to make the training (if required).
- Faculty has requested a different SP.
Please be respectful to NCSL Coordinators. They are doing their best to get everyone scheduled in coordination with faculty and case requirements. If an SP is at all a concerned as to why they are not being scheduled, please address it with a Program Coordinator in a respectful manner.
The quality of an SPs performance is priority at the NCSL. Quality assurance is maintained by “live” observation during training and simulation. The goal is to provide each SP with the information and support that they need to succeed. Sometimes, the program is not the best match for individual SPs and we must discontinue their participation. This may occur due to an SP being late, habitually missing or cancelling projects they have accepted, and/or consistently being unable to meet program expectations.
The NCSL reserves the right to discontinue an SPs services if they do not meet the responsibilities and expectations of their position.
SP Preparation for a Case
Prior to each simulation, you will be brought in for face‐to‐face training. Training typically lasts two hours and all training sessions are paid. The purpose of a training session is to review the script and case materials, to role-play the scenario, and ensure confidence and comfort with the role. If at the end of training you do not feel prepared, please speak with the NCSL Senior Coordinator, Sam Butler.
Before beginning training and prior to the training session, you are expected to:
- Review your case materials.
- Note any questions.
Be familiar with:
- chief complaint
- opening statement(s)
- case details
- scripted responses
Being prepared results in a more stimulating and streamlined training experience for everyone.
Who Needs Training?
If it is your first time participating in an event, the NCSL SP Program requires attendance in an initial training session/s before the event to participate. SPs who have acted the case numerous times will be asked to participate in an annual training as a form of quality assurance. Experienced SPs feedback and insight (especially during dry runs with other SPs) is very helpful in preparing the whole group to present the case in a consistent and standardized manner.
SP training prepares SPs to portray roles, give feedback, and complete assessment instruments.
- Please arrive on time to all trainings.
- Bring a printed copy of the case information with you. If you’re unable to do this, ask the SP Trainer or Program Coordinator to print a copy for you (in advance).
- If an SP does not attend the training session, he/she will not be allowed to participate in the event.
- All cases, checklists and training materials are developed by the NCSL staff and faculty and are property of the NCSL. These cases, manuals, checklists and all written materials are to be used exclusively by SPs.
- Feedback & basic skills training and review are compulsory. Workshops are held on an annual basis for all SPs. If you cannot attend a workshop, you may not be eligible to work at the NCSL.
The training session will provide you with the following information:
- Type of activity – teaching or assessment.
- Overview of SP script.
- Type of student you will be seeing (assisting).
- The case materials, which include the medical and personal facts about the patient you will portray.
- A clear understanding of the assessment checklist.
- Debriefing, feedback and methods to use (if the session requires you to give feedback to the student).
The training process may consist of:
- An initial training session to discuss the case and checklist.
- Case materials to take home to review and memorize.
- A second training session to complete a dry run of the case.
- Additional training of physical examination techniques if needed, event specific).
- Review of SP training videos.
Lack of adequate preparation for training may result in replacement, lack of future assignments, or discontinuation of services.
Reviewing case materials differs from specifically being assigned home study. While you are always expected to review your case materials and come to trainings prepared, you may sometimes be assigned home study. Home study is the time you commit to studying and practicing your case off-site from NCSL. If you are assigned home study, this will be specified in your training email and you will be compensated for this time. Home study time for most cases is either a half-hour or an hour.
Reliability and Promptness
Please do not be late! Being late creates a domino of complications for everyone involved.
Late arrival by an SP not only offsets the start of the event – it keeps the learners, faculty, staff as well as other SPs from other obligations and is considered extremely unprofessional.
If an SP is late, it forces Coordinators to have to re-program the entire event in LearningSpace. Each learner is scheduled a certain time frame, and when that block has passed its time frame due to a late SP, Coordinators must recalibrate the entire event to give learners access to their instructions and post encounter note (P.E.N.), as well as SPs access to their learner checklists. The cameras also have to be recallibrated to sync the recorded scenarios to the correct learners. A late SP also extends the end time for the rest of the SPs in the event, which costs the NCSL financially.
If you are arriving any time after your call time (typically 30min before the event starts), it is imperative you contact the Program Coordinator immediately.
Parking for the NCSL is in the P5 garage. Don’t forget your parking ticket so it can be validated with a sticker before you leave an event. For directions please visit the Directions page where you can find information on our location, parking, as well as an interactive map to our location.
Where to Report
SPs are expected to sign in, be seated in the SP Lounge and ready to work at the start of the call time. SPs are usually required to be signed in and present in the SP lounge 30 minutes prior to start time. This time is compensated and crucial for orientation, last minute instructions, and training.
The call-time is usually 30 minutes prior to the start of the session and will be specified in the e-mail confirmation for the event. A clinical skills event is a carefully choreographed, timed, and directed event in which many people, activities and schedules must come together in a coordinated manner. Every effort must be directed toward an on-time start. If one SP is not ready to start, it can delay the entire event.
Late Event Arrival or Absence
SPs who are late on event day will have their pay adjusted accordingly. Continued issues with lateness may result in replacement, lack of future assignments, or discontinuation of services. If you are going to be late, please let us know as soon as possible by calling the Program Coordinator and SP Training Room until you get an answer from a Coordinator in charge of the event. The Training Room/SP Lounge number is 913.574.0733.
Please select the learner in LearningSpace and have the checklist for that learner minimized before the start of the encounter. Wait to submit the checklist until after you have finished feedback, as it prompts the cameras to stop recording. Note that all events are recorded, monitored and/or live streamed. Even after the checklist is submitted, what you say and do can be heard and seen by faculty, staff and learners.
The primary use of SPs is to portray specific patient cases for learners of all skill levels. Standardization (or consistency and accuracy) of SP performances is of utmost importance. We want to maintain standardization in our encounters so that our learners can have the same educational experience. So be consistent. Perform the case as instructed to ensure each student is seeing the same portrayal of the scenario.
Feedback is critical to learning. While learners may receive feedback from many educational sources, including clinicians and peers, an SP can provide a unique perspective and valuable information about how the learners actions and behaviors affected the SPs emotional experience, trust and understanding of the information provided during the encounter. If your case requires you to give a learner feedback, please do not submit your checklist until after the feedback portion of the encounter has concluded. Submitting the checklist before feedback prompts the cameras to stop recording.
Please match the checklist name with the learner on your schedule. Wait to complete the checklist once the learner has left the room. Ensure consistent and accurate completion. Accurately recall the actions of the student and record it on the checklist. Always give positive and relevant feedback. Be aware that submitting your checklist prompts the cameras to stop recording. If you have feedback to give to a learner, please wait to press the submit button until after your feedback has been given. If you have any questions on how to grade a learner before submitting your checklist, please talk to the Senior Coordinator, Sam Butler.
The Coordinators have worked out an optimal SP rotation schedule prior to the event. SPs may not alter the schedule. If you have concerns about the schedule, please speak to a Coordinator immediately.
Please use time off between encounters to take a break in the lounge, relax, eat, and take bathroom breaks. Do not leave the clinical skills area without letting the Coordinator/s in charge know!!! SPs are responsible for managing their time and being ready to go back in the exam room at the end of the break time. Again, even one SP who is not ready to perform can delay the entire event.
After Each Encounter
Make sure your room is reset for the next encounter and that there are no clues left behind for the next learner. For example, if a learner has left a reflex hammer out, please put it back in the drawer so the next learner does not see it. Complete your checklist in a timely manner. If there is feedback, please do not exceed the time slotted for that learner. If you do not finish your feedback in a timely manner, it delays the entire event.
After the Event
Ensure that all checklists are completed, all case items are put away, and that you are not needed for any additional encounters. Change pillow case and/or exam table sheet if used. Ensure all personal items are removed and area is clean and restocked if needed.
Staff will do its best to contact you in a timely manner if there is a cancelled program, or if an event is rescheduled for any reason. SPs will not be compensated if KUMC campus is closed and a program is cancelled due to inclement weather; instead the event will be rescheduled.
Re-Setting Exam Rooms
Do not leave until your room is tidy and restocked. Pull down and tear off used exam table paper and throw away in the trash can. Replenish your exam room with proper supplies; tongue suppressors, cotton balls, safety pins, etc. Make sure NO training/case materials are left behind. If you need help restocking the room, find a NCSL staff member.
If you need a break, please let the Monitor/Coordinator know before you go. Do not leave the room if the Monitor has given a warning announcement stating the next round is about to start. We ask this because on most occasions, there is only one person monitoring the learners and cameras. If the Monitor has given a verbal warning, that means they are grabbing the learners and will likely not get an opportunity to check the monitors to verify that you are still in your room after that announcement. Instead, they will be lining learners up to encounter rooms, starting timers and helping learners with any login issues.
The SP Lounge/SP Training Room
The SP Lounge, or SP Training Room is an area provided for the SPs to relax prior to the event and between encounters. Please be considerate of others in the room. This includes keeping your personal items together, respecting others both with your words and actions, and cleaning up after yourself. We provide lockers for storing your personal items as well as a refrigerator. We clean out the refrigerator frequently and leftover items will be thrown out.
If there is an event that runs longer than 4 days, the NCSL will provide lunch to our SPs and faculty. Usually this is on the last day of the event. SPs are responsible for bringing their own snacks and/or meals otherwise. SPs may have food and drink in the exam rooms, but we prefer you eat in the SP lounge. We just ask that you please clean up after yourself, don’t leave any evidence of food/drink out during the encounters, or after the event. Also, do not bring any foods in the exam rooms with smells that might affect the encounter.
As an SP, once you have committed yourself to a specific event, we expect you will honor that commitment barring extreme circumstances. The NCSL asks that you report any difficulties making an SP commitment as soon as possible. Last minute cancellations or ‘no shows’ for a simulation (without a valid reason) could impact future involvement with the NCSL. Reliability is an essential component of our SP programming.
Unless otherwise stated in the case, SPs are expected to present a neat casual, professional image during all teaching and testing sessions. SPs should be clean and well-kept. Hair should be clean and combed; nails should be clean. Please refrain from wearing heavy fragrances as some people experience respiratory irritation.
Safe Work Practices
Safety is a principle motivation for using simulation. In turn, simulation must be conducted in a safe manner that minimizes risk to all stakeholders, no matter the activity. It is incumbent on simulation educators to ensure that all participants – SPs, learners, faculty, or program staff – have a safe psychological and physical learning. NCSL Coordinators do their best to ensure the safety of all participants by:
- Providing safe working conditions in the design of the activity (e.g., number of rotations, number of breaks, physical, cognitive, and psychological challenges in the role portrayal).
- Anticipating and recognizing potential occupational hazards, including threats to SP safety in the environment (e.g., allergenic substances, exposure to sharps).
- Screening SPs to ensure that they are appropriate for the role (e.g., no conflict of interest, no compromising of their psychological or physical safety).
- Allowing SPs to opt out of any given activity if they feel it is not appropriate for them to participate.
- Briefing SPs so they are clear about the guidelines and parameters of a simulation activity.
- Providing SPs with strategies to mitigate potential adverse effects of role portrayal and prevent physical injury or fatigue.
- Monitoring for and responding to SPs who have experienced adverse effects from participation in an activity.
- Supporting SPs who act in accordance with delineated program expectations if a complaint is made about them.
- Manage educator’s expectations of an SPs possibilities and limitations through remediation techniques.
The University of Kansas Medical Center is committed to the promotion of good health and the prevention of disease. As such, the Medical Center has an obligation to establish and maintain a healthy, safe and clean environment for patients, faculty, staff, students, volunteers and visitors.
Smoking, the use of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes are not permitted in any facility or on any part of the Medical Center's campuses.
Individuals must respect the properties and businesses immediately adjacent to the workplace and refrain from littering or loitering on these properties for the purposes addressed above or otherwise.
For purposes of this policy, University of Kansas Medical Center facilities include all buildings owned or leased by the Medical Center as well as all adjacent exterior areas, including parking lots and parking garage buildings.
These areas include, but are not limited to:
- Private Offices
- Conference Rooms
- Locker Rooms
- Building Entrances
- Food Vending Areas
- Parking Garages
- Courtyards and Patios
- Parking Lots
- State Vehicles
Scent-Free and Hygiene
Our programming often takes place in small examination rooms for long periods of time. For the comfort of our learners, faculty, and staff, please arrive freshly showered and refrain from using products with strong scents, such as the ones found in perfume, cologne, hair‐spray, after‐shave, and even some soap and fabric softeners, cause serious illness in people who are sensitive to these chemicals. To provide an environment which supports teaching and learning, the NCSL asks learners, staff, faculty and visitors, to refrain from using strong scents.
Professionalism mandates that we are part of a community of professionals and act in accordance with common ethics, values and standards.
The University of Kansas School of Medicine is committed to maintaining an environment where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Harassment, whether verbal, physical, written or visual, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. From the time you arrive to our facility, until you leave after an event, you are representing the NCSL. Always behave professionally in your language and actions.
If you ever experience any difficulties with other SPs, students, faculty or staff, please address these concerns in detail as soon as possible to a NCSL staff member.
As an employee of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, it is your professional obligation to abide by these guidelines. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.
The NCSL is concerned about maintaining the integrity of examination content. Please let the NCSL know immediately if you or a person close to you (family, partner, spouse, best friend, etc.) is intending to participate in any upcoming health care exam. This way we can work together to avoid any conflict of interest.
Discrimination/Sexual Harassment/Retaliation Policy
The NCSL strives to maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment, where employees treat each other with respect, dignity and courtesy. This policy applies to all phases of employment, including but not limited to recruiting, testing, hiring, promoting, demoting, transferring, laying off, terminating, paying, and training.
What is Discrimination?
Treatment that is:
- Unfair or unequal
- Directed toward a group or individual
- Based on a protected class
- Results in an adverse action or consequence
KU Medical Center is committed to providing equal opportunities for all individuals in a safe and inclusive environment. KU Medical Center, along with federal and state law, prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment and educational programs based on:
- national origin
- status as a veteran
- sexual orientation
- marital status
- parental status
- gender identity
- gender expression
- genetic information
Due to the nature of our program, the NCSL reserves the right to hire based on the needs of the event.
What is Harassment?
The NCSL does not and will not tolerate any type of harassment of our employees, applicants for employment, or our clients. Discriminatory conduct or conduct characterized as harassment is prohibited.
The term harassment includes, but is not limited to:
- sexual orientation
- national origin
- military service status
- or any other protected classification that unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile work environment.
What is Sexual Harassment?
- Behavior, including physical contact, advances, or comments in person, through an intermediary, and/or via phone, text message, email, social media, or any other electronic medium
- That is unwelcome
- Based on sex or gender stereotypes
- And is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a person’s academic performance, employment or equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities or by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or education environment.
Any employee who files a complaint of sexual harassment or other discrimination in good faith will not be adversely affected in terms and conditions of employment will not be retaliated against or discharged because of the complaint.
In addition, we will not tolerate retaliation against any employee who, in good faith, cooperates in the investigation of a complaint. Anyone who engages in such retaliatory behavior will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination.
Protect the privacy of the personal information of all participants (learners, SPs, faculty, staff), including that which may be revealed within a simulation activity.
It is imperative that you protect the confidentiality of students, personnel, and cases that you enact. Do not discuss student performance or appearance with anyone except faculty, the trainer, or NCSL staff. SPs are in a position of authority and are to evaluate learners; it is our policy that SPs do not personally interact with the medical students or other trainees in the NCSL. Contacting or seeking communication with learners for any personal reason or interest outside approval of our program is strictly forbidden and will result in immediate disciplinary action.
No individual student or student performance is to be discussed with anyone at any time except with a member of NCSL staff or within the parameters of a staff-supervised training session.
Sometimes life can be stressful. If you experience a disgruntled learner, please be respectful and try not to take it personally. The NCSL asks that you please report the experience to the Senior Coordinator, Sam Butler as soon as possible so that the behavior can be investigated and resolved.
Any observations of other SPs performances during training or quality assurance/reliability sessions are to be kept in strict confidence. Discussion of SP performance is to be limited to the trainer/NCSL staff. Please do not discuss your schedules with other SPs as we don’t want anyone to misinterpret why they were not hired or requested for an event.
The cases and checklists used for training are the property of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. We allow you access to this information outside of our facility so that you may review and work on your performance. They are to be used exclusively by SPs employed by the NCSL for assigned events. Unauthorized use or sharing of these manuals with other parties will result in employment termination. Do not discuss or share the content of any training materials or the details of any cases with anyone outside the NCSL program. Case materials are not to be shared with anyone not directly involved with your training, such as discussing your role, case material or performance. Comments, updates, tweets, concerning your role should not be placed on social media (such as Facebook or Twitter).
Personal Information and Photographs
To recruit appropriate SPs for specific simulations, it is necessary for the NCSL to receive and maintain specific personal information about SPs (e.g. contact information, height, weight, surgical scars, relevant physical characteristics, health issues, etc.). This personal information will be kept electronically in our SP database at the NCSL. Photographs (head shots, scars, marks & tattoos) will be taken or requested of every SP and will be kept on file with other SP contact and personal information. SP information and photographs will not be divulged or shared with anyone outside of necessary NCSL staff.
Protected Health Information
Any personal information we obtain is protected by our secure SP database and used specifically for casting purposes. The NCSL understands this information is private and will be held in strict confidence. Alternately, NCSL staff and faculty are not responsible for any dissemination of personal information you choose to disclose publicly within or outside of the lab. We advise caution in what you say and where you say it, as our lab is under video and audio monitoring and the monitor room is easily accessed.
General rule of thumb: Do not share private information in public areas if you don’t want it known.
Some ways to limit information sharing:
- Share information only with those who “need to know”, in a discreet manner.
- Do NOT discuss an individual’s private information in a public place, in a place where those not authorized to know the information can overhear.
- Ensure the information reaches only the intended person. For example, validate emails before emailing.
Faculty, Staff, and SPs are all expected and required to respect any personal information heard or reported. NCSL staff will never purposefully share protected health information. Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination from the program. Intentional misuse of protected health information could also subject an individual to civil and criminal penalties.
Social Media Policy
For the latest news about the NCSL, visit Neis Clinical Skills Lab on Facebook!
The NCSL would love for SPs to share about their experiences. We do ask that you not divulge any information that could adversely affect or inform learners of what the encounters are about.
Golden Rule: Before sharing, ask yourself “is this information publicly available?” If not, do not post!
Please see the Confidentiality section or talk to a NCSL Faculty, Director, or Program Coordinator if you are not sure about a post or tag you would like to make.
NCSL Facebook PG
We would love to use our SPs images to highlight our lab and learning experiences. One of our staff members will ask for you to sign a waiver so that we may use your image for our social media pages. If you have not been asked, please request the document so that we are aware of your interest.
If you do not wish to have your image used, please send an email stating so. This is so we don’t continue to ask you.
There are cameras mounted in each clinic room, the SP training room, outpatient lab, SP hallways, North and South Learner hallways, both Debrief A and B rooms, as well as the large classroom. During events, exam rooms are always under some form of observation, whether recorded, observed and/or live streamed. Please be professional and conscientious of what you say and do at all times.
Simulations are almost always recorded and recordings may be observed for educational or quality assurance purposes.
Video recording serves several purposes; it provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their skill level, and it provides faculty and staff with the opportunity to re‐watch interactions with learners who might need additional support. Direct observation of simulated patients also helps to ensure the educational programming is running as expected.
Any observations of SP and/or learner performances during training or monitoring are confidential. Discussion of SP and/or learner performances is limited to your trainer or other staff members only.
CAE LearningSpace is an audiovisual center management video recording platform that the NCSL uses for recording and managing simulations.
Learners log into this interface to read their instructions and start the cameras recording for their encounter. SPs use this platform to pull up learners and their checklists, among other things (see checklists and feedback sections). You will be given a username and password on your first event. The username will be your Last Name, First Name. The password will be the last 4 digits of your SSN. Computer usernames and passwords are confidential. Only the individual to whom the password is issued should know the code. No one may attempt to obtain access through the computer system to information to which he/she is not authorized to view or receive.
If you need to change clothes, or would like to discuss something with our faculty or staff in private, there is a tool in LearningSpace that allows you to put your room in privacy mode. After logging into LearningSpace you will see a dropdown box in the top right corner of the page. The box has a circle and is labeled privacy mode. If you click this, it will make your exam room cameras black out. This function must be reactivated from the same room and under the same username it was originally started from. Please remember to turn off privacy mode before your encounter begins, or before resuming your feedback with a learner so it can continue to be recorded.
Electronics and Personal Belongings
SPs should not use electronics – such as blue tooth or cell phones – during events. It is unprofessional and disruptive to the learners, other SPs, faculty and staff.
Cell Phone Use
You can use your personal cell phone before and after the event. During the encounter please turn it off or on silent (unless otherwise specified in the case).
Phone call conversations should be taken AFTER the entire event or during your slotted break/s, not during intermissions, and not in the SP hallway – this is to avoid disrupting and/or delaying the program.
If you take a phone call during your break, be respectful and end your conversation 5 minutes before the start of your next round. This helps avoid any delay in the encounters.
The NCSL has lockers available on site. SPs are welcome to keep their personal belongings stored in the lockers during training and/or events. The NCSL provides locks to the lockers; it is the responsibility of the SP to not lose these. Locks must be removed at the end of the event, to free up the locker space for others to use.
The NCSL does not accept liability for any lost or damaged personal items.
Drug and Alcohol Policy
The University of Kansas School of Medicine maintains a drug and alcohol-free workplace. It is unacceptable to use recreational drugs or alcohol prior to or during scheduled work hours. Failure to follow this policy may result in termination.
NCSL recognizes the need for fair and consistent application of disciplinary measures and the obligation of all employees to conform to University rules. If you should commit an offense warranting disciplinary action, we may take any of the following steps depending on the nature and seriousness of the offense:
- Verbal Warning: For a minor offense, you may be given a verbal warning. If you do not correct the situation within a reasonable length of time, we may proceed to the next step.
- Written Warning: A written warning may be used following a verbal warning, a repeated minor offense or for an offense of a more serious nature. You will be asked to acknowledge receipt of the warning by signing the document.
- Suspension: If another minor offense or a single serious violation of University rules occurs, you may be discharged from the University.
- Discharge: If another minor offense or a single serious violation of University rules occurs, you may be discharged from the University.
A breach of established code of conduct will be dealt with fairly but firmly under consistent standards. However, some circumstances are unique; prescribed disciplinary actions may be tempered or expanded, including immediate termination, according to the situation.
The preferred method of communication with standardized patients (to include hiring, scripts, checklists, etc.) is via email. If you have special needs, please indicate so on your application or by notifying a NCSL staff member. Please always keep our staff informed of any changes in your email, phone and/or address.
In Case of Delay or Emergency
In case of a delay, emergency and/or if you are unable to keep your commitment, you must speak to a Program Coordinator as soon as possible. Do not email on the day of an event.
If it is the day of the event and you are not going to make it, we ask that you call the Program Coordinator that scheduled you until you make contact. If you do not have their number, please email them and call the SP Training Room until you have reached a Coordinator. (Note: the SP Training room has no voicemail capabilities, so you must call until you speak to a coordinator.)