Background: There have been detailed descriptions on standardized patient (SP) programs' effects on students, curricula, and faculty, yet little attention has been paid to the consequences of participating on the SP's. Purpose: This study explored the perceptions of SPs toward their own health care in the context of having served as SPs. Method: All 180 SPs participating in Department of Medicine programs at 5 medical schools were surveyed. They completed the survey during SP activities, or it was mailed to them. SPs indicated their level of agreement or disagreement with 11 attitude statements related to their own health care after serving as an SP using a Likert scale, with 1 reflecting the most positive attitude and 5 the least positive. Results: Responses to the attitudinal questions were obtained from 164 SPs (91%). SPs perceived that because of their participation as SPs they had a better understanding about medical history taking and physical examinations (1.9±0.9), communicated more effectively with their health care provider (1.8±0.9), and were more comfortable with both health care visits and physical examinations (2.2±0.9). There were no significant differences in results based on gender, age, race, or school. Conclusions: As a consequence of their participation, the SPs indicated a change in attitudes about their personal health care. They perceived improved understanding and ability to communicate and comfort with their own health care. Participation in SP programs seems to influence SPs by improving perceptions about their own health care interactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas