Standardized patients play an important role in medical education and are used for both training and evaluation activities of various learners (graduate, postgraduate, faculty development and continuing medical education, etc).

Standardized patient is a normal individual who has flexible working hours and is recruited on a part-time basis. He/she is trained to portray the personal history, physical symptoms, emotional characteristics and everyday concerns of an actual patient. Learners will take medical history and perform common physical examination techniques on standardized patients. Learners also improve their skills with feedbacks from standardized patients.

Standardized patient-based training program is designed as an integral component of competency-based medical education and also an essential activity to fulfill CECICS – PNTU function.

For an effective program, standardized patients must be trained and managed by CECICS – PNTU, with approval from School Board of Manager of PNTU. Through the help from Center for Advanced Teaching & Assessment in Clinical Simulation at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center – El Paso, CECICS – PNTU initially developed a team of standardized patients and several clinical scenarios regarding common problems for training activities.


A1. Standardized Patient Recruitment

  • Standardized patients are recruited from community and are guaranteed of basic factors, including identity, age, academic level, communication skill and professionalism.
  • Standardized patients sign labor contract with the PNTU and earn a salary based on the number of training and evaluation-involved hours without any other additional benefits from the PNTU.
  • Standardized patients sign commitment for approval of participation in clinical simulation training activities, including being photo or video recorded while participating in training or assessment activities (for standardized patients, students, learners, etc).  
  • Office of Human Resource of PNTU will take responsibilities in recruitment and make sure the labor contracts following laws of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. CECICS takes responsibilities in providing input of participants in standardized patient training program following a set of criteria approved by School Board of Manager of PNTU and CECICS Director.

A2. Standardized Patient Training

Basic Training

Standardized patients require at least 2 hours of basic training for the first time, including:

  • Communicating with and giving feedbacks to students and staff members
  • Rules regarding simulation training safety
  • Benefits and responsibilities of standardized patients
  • During the first phase of standardized patient program, basic training will be taught by CECICS faculty members. When there are enough core standardized patients, training can be carried out by senior standardized patients.

Scenario Training

  • Clinical scenarios are “critical” in training activities with standardized patients
  • Clinical scenarios hold educational purposes which students need to reach
  • Standardized patients need to play and portray exactly according to clinical scenarios
  • Scenarios-based standardized patients training is the most important activity which is carried out by CECICS faculty.
  • Standardized patients require at least 4 hours of training for a simple clinical scenario which is for medical students year 2.
  • Training session can be longer if the clinical scenario is complicated.

B. Utilization of Standardized Patients atCECICS

In Educational Activities:

Standardized patients are utilized in training and monitoring by clinical departments and CECICS’s instructors.

Clinical departments and Office of Education and Examination need to specify the following requirements:

  • Educational purposes for each year, starting with Medical students year 2
  • The number of learners
  • The number of learners for each group
  • The number of groups
  • The number of training hours

Based on these requirements, CECICS will advise clinical faculties on clinical scenario, provide standardized patients who have been trained, schedule training timetable and coordinate CECICS’s instructors to assist in training session.

CECICS have responsibilities for:

  • Documenting and giving feedbacks early on CECICS capabilities to address clinical faculty’s requirements for standardized patient utilization
  • Developing basic clinical scenarios (starting with medical students year 2) according to faculties’ requirements. CECICS will work in conjunction with faculties to develop complicated or specialist clinical scenarios, and to train standardized patients following students’ educational purposes.
  • Training standardized patients with correct clinical scenarios which are agreeable to the faculty
  • Coordinating standardized patients for student training and monitoring these activities
  • Documenting the feedbacks from the faculty members and students after each session to improve training activities

Faculty members and students who participate in training activities with standardized patients must follow the rules of CECICS.

In Evaluation Activities:

  • Standardized patients are essential component in OSCE-based evaluation
  • This issue needs input from Office of Testing and will be fully discussed in another program.



All activities of CECICS – PNTU are recorded. Video and photo recordings are later used for students and faculty members’ reference. Sometimes, video recording can be showed in class for educational purpose.  Photo recordings can be used for educational purpose and website information. Video recordings are stored in a certain time for later evaluation.

Standardized patients are recruited and developed cautiously. Students and learners must operate carefully simulation equipment and devices, clinical scenario information sheets, including medical history, physical examination, laboratory profiles and diagnosis.

Standardized patients have all the same rights as real patients. Both patients’ information and clinical scenarios must be confidential. Learners must not perform any clinical techniques without verbal approval from standardized patient. Bedside techniques regarding breast, anus and genital area will not be performed on standardized patients under any circumstances at CECICS – PNTU.