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College of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at ArlingtonCollege of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at Arlington


Touching Lives. Transforming Health Care.

Standardized Patient Lab

MSAT Standardized Patient Lab - College of Nursing and Health Innovation

What is the Standardized Patient Lab?

The MSAT Standardized Patient Lab is a specialized teaching space that simulates a fully equipped athletic training facility, external locations and other settings, with cameras installed to record student/simulated patient interactions. This enables our program to conduct Standardized Patient Encounters.

What is a Standardized Patient Encounter?

Standardized Patient Encounters use a trained actor (the "standardized patient") to portray specific signs and symptoms in a consistent manner to a student. The AT student is then expected to play out the encounter as if it were a real encounter of an athletic trainer with a patient, using the simulated environment of the SP Lab. This interaction is video-recorded and reviewed afterwards by both an instructor and the student.

Because the patients are not real, the stakes are lower than an actual patient encounter. What is real is the opportunity for the student to practice and correctly apply knowledge and skills, and to gain confidence by working through authentically presented clinical scenarios. These encounters provide a bridge between classroom learning and clinical experiences involving real patients.

What are the benefits of Standardized Patient Encounters?

  • Authentic Clinical Experiences: the signs and symptoms portrayed by the actors are what will be encountered in real-life experiences.
  • Clinical Skill-Building: through the encounter, the student will have real-time opportunities to practice and articulate clinical reasoning and perfect patient-centered skills and communication.
  • Reflective Learning: students self-assess their performances through the video recording.
  • Real-Time Assessment: because the entire scenario is recorded, instructors can give detailed feedback on all aspects of a student’s performance in a standardized patient encounter.

Standardized Patient Labs and Encounters are new to Athletic Training Programs, and not yet widely implemented. The UTA MSAT program is excited to be among the first to include SP Scenarios as part of our educational curriculum. Dr. Laura Kunkel is the Director of the SP Lab.