From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, September 3, 2010

Editor's note: This feature is written by nursing staff development expert Adrianne Avillion. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of staff development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Q: I have been hearing a lot about using standardized patients as part of simulation training. Where can I find out more about this technique?

Standardized patients (SP) are individuals trained to portray various characters, including patients, families, physicians, nurses, etc., in a simulated patient scenario. They have been in use in medical schools since the 1960s.

SPs are given information about a scenario and how to behave in the simulation. They also participate in the debriefing after the simulation to provide feedback and observation. A good resource for information about SPs is the website of the Association of SP Educators (, which is the national association for individuals who recruit and train SPs for simulation experience.

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