Patient Safety - My Role As A Standardized Patient

This is patient safety awareness week.  #PSAW19

You might think patient safety is something just for those who work in a hospital or doctor’s office to be aware of or thinking about.  But, in fact, it applies to all of us.

The fact is, patient safety is for everyone from the hospital administrator, top surgeon, chief nursing officer, every operating room tech and every member of the custodial staff.  And, it also includes every patient. Patients want to get the right treatment and care and should do whatever they can to ensure that happens.


My role as a “standardized patient”, someone who acts the part of a patient in clinical simulation exercises, was an eye-opening experience for me regarding patient safety.

In my role, I noticed the students did not always check for identification or confirm who I was by scanning the bar code on my ID bracelet to see if they had the correct patient. They sometimes didn’t notice that I had removed my ID band from my wrist. They were trying to do everything right, but those steps weren’t always their top priorities. Please don’t misunderstand, most things were done correctly! But, it only takes one error to potentially cause harm or take a life.


This simple step to ensure the correct patient is being attended to, can prevent any number of errors concerning medication, treatment, injections, even surgeries. 

My role as a standardized patient, actually helped me be a better patient and empowered me to take a more active role in my healthcare and in my family’s care as well.

Remember, you are the most important member of your clinical care team.


Ask questions. Get involved. Be active. It’s your health and your life.

About the author: James Benson is a professor of communications and Chief Communications Officer of B & G Educational Innovations, LLC, and subsidiary ReaLifeSim, LLC.

To learn more about ReaLifeSim hybrid clinical simulation solutions:

James Benson, Chief Communications Officer

James Benson is a career public relations executive with over 38 years’ experience communicating with diverse audiences in a wide variety of venues. A retired Air Force officer, he spent the latter half of his Air Force career as a public affairs officer enjoying a series of one-of-a-kind positions with equally unique communication challenges. From arranging press conferences, to producing news and training videos, to explaining research, development and contracting issues to the media, he enjoyed tuning in to each audience to ensure the message was received and understood. As the marketing director of a mid-sized hospital, Mr. Benson directed the advertising and promotion of membership and referral programs and community health fairs, conducted outreach efforts to rural health care clinics and community education programs, created a trade show display and produced and hosted a radio health program. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Benson served as a senior public affairs executive responding to media requests, preparing senior officials and subject matter experts for media interviews, hosting a magazine-style television program with benefit information for Veterans and providing emcee support for numerous department and public ceremonies and special events. As an adjunct professor, Mr. Benson has taught classes in communications for the past 10 years. Currently, Mr. Benson is providing strategic communications, media relations and marketing support to B & G Educational Innovations, LLC, makers of ReaLifeSim clinical simulation training products