SP Program FAQ


Image of nursing student giving an ear exam to a standardized patient

Do I need acting experience to be an SP?

While some SPs do have acting experience, most do not. Some ability to portray a person other than yourself is required. This ability will be assessed during your interview process and will be enhanced through training and coaching.

Does if help or hurt if I have health problems?

SPs are assigned based on demographic requirements of the script and the learning objective of the simulation (i.e. age, gender, ethnicity…). Some SPs with known actual physical/medical conditions may be asked to volunteer themselves to a group of learners for the sake of demonstration or presentation. This is entirely based on the comfort of the SP and there is never any pressure to participate.

Additionally, some roles may be physically and emotionally taxing and therefore SPs with known limitations may be cautioned to consider signing up for the role if there is a possibility that doing so would have an adverse effect on their health.

Will my body be exposed during the physical exam?

Most activities that involve a physical exam will require that the SP present in a patient hospital gown with athletic wear underneath (such as a sports bra or top, athletic shorts). Please note that while you are not required to be fully disrobed, you may be examined by students and/or faculty with the expectation that you will be lightly clad.  If you are uncomfortable with being examined physically with minimal clothing this may not be the position for you.

What type of work schedule can I expect?

Invitations to participate in an SP assignment will be based on factors such as the demographic need for the scheduled simulation event, the number of SPs needed, the skill requirement of the SPs needed, and the hours and duration of the simulation. There may be times throughout the calendar year that SP assignments are more frequent than others.

Do I have to grade the students?

You will not be asked to grade students. You may be asked to provide feedback either verbally or in the form of a written checklist. The feedback is based on interpersonal skills and communication with you during the simulation.

How is compensation structured ?

Pay range for SP assignments is based on the demand of the activity and may either be:

  • $25/hr. 
    • Physical exam only; no script
    • Case and SP training
  • $35/hr. 
    • Any scripted assignments (History and Physical Exam)
    • Minimally invasive exams (no pelvic, rectal, breast)
    • Activities involving patients with actual medical conditions
  • $50/hr.
    • An pelvic, rectal, genitourinary, or breast exam procedure

SPs are hired as “per diem” employees and do not receive benefits. SP candidates must also submit to a background check, reference check, and identity verification before being hired.

How will I know if I am invited to participate in an SP assignment?

All correspondence will be sent to SP via email. Therefore, all SPs are required to have an active email account and are strongly encouraged to check it frequently for availability requests, invitations and detailed updates regarding SP assignments.

What else should I know about being an SP?

Most people who work as SPs find it rewarding and fun. While we encourage and promote an enjoyable and exciting environment, SPs are also expected to be professional and to dedicated to their work. Much training and preparation is required to becoming an effective Simulated Participant. This is not always an easy job and often the stakes can be high, therefore it is not for everyone. If you are interested in applying for an SP position with the MGH Institute or you would like to find out more information about Simulated Participants, Simulated Patients, or Standardized Patients, please contact us