Frequently Asked Questions

High Point University School of Pharmacy Standardized Client Program


What is a Standardized Client?

A Standardized Client (SC) is a person who has been coached to accurately and consistently re-create the history, personality, physical findings, and emotional structure and response pattern of an actual patient at a particular point in time. High Point University School of Pharmacy employs Standardized Clients in the training and evaluation of pharmacy students. As a Standardized Client, you will be interviewed and communicated with, just as you would by your pharmacist, by male and female health-care students. In the patient role, you may see several (4-12) students on a one-to-one basis during an evaluation session.

How will I know what to say when the students interview me?

You will be given a “patient case” or script detailing the current medical problem, past medical history, family and social situation, and emotional state you will need to portray. You will learn to appear as the patient by using specific body language, movement, and responses to simple procedures (blood pressure, etc.). You will also be trained to look for specific student responses and skills, to record them, and to give feedback to the student on their performance.

Will the students know we aren’t real patients?

All students are aware that they are seeing SCs, and are asked to perform histories and counseling just as they would with real patients.

Will I have to grade the student?

No. You will be asked to complete a checklist as a record of the encounter, but you will not be asked to subjectively rate clinical skills. You may be asked to provide both positive and constructive feedback to the students based on their performance. We do complete the checklist using a laptop or desktop computer, and having computer skills will make this easier.

Will I have to remove my clothing?


Will I need to know a lot about medicine?

No. Your patient case will contain all the information you need for portrayal and feedback.

Is my previous health history important?

It might be. Each patient is matched with a case. For example, a SC who has asthma may better understand using an inhaler, etc. and be more comfortable portraying such a patient.

How are Standardized Clients selected?

As a SC, you will use a wide range of skills. You will need to role-play and work with a varied group of people. Strong written and verbal communication skills are required. The ability to enter data into a computer is also required. Punctuality, reliability, and flexibility are imperative.

Do I need to be an actor?

No, although many actors work as SCs. The focus is on providing the student with an educational opportunity, not on performance or dramatic interpretation. Playing a patient case is extremely repetitive, as exactly the same case must be performed consistently for every student encounter in a specific session. However, many actors and non-actors find this work rewarding. You will contribute to the education of future health care providers, and many students are extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with SCs and receive feedback on their skills.

How often would I work? The work is temporary, part-time, and seasonal. SC sessions are scheduled according to student needs and program requirements. Both mornings and afternoons will be scheduled for the labs. SCs who perform satisfactorily are given first preference for future work, depending on need and case requirements.

How much does it pay? Currently SCs are paid an hourly rate (up to $16.00) through the High Point University payroll system, and receive paychecks once per month.

What else should I know about being a Standardized Client?

This job is not easy and it is not for everybody. It requires intense concentration while being interviewed and educated about medications. You must be able to respond exactly as the patient you are portraying would. You must be able to maintain not only the patient’s character, but also simulate their physical condition during an encounter. When the encounter is over, you must recall the student’s performance and record it on a checklist. You will also be asked to provide verbal feedback directly to the student. You will repeat these tasks many times in succession without change. Being an SC takes energy, memorization, discipline, concentration, and excellent communication skills.

I’m interested in becoming a Standardized Client. What should I do next?

If not done so already, complete the online application and information forms. We will contact you to arrange an interview and match you to a case. Your application will be kept on file, and you may contact us at any time to update information. Thank you for your interest in the HPU School of Pharmacy Standardized Client Program.