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The Virtual SP

By Deborah Davidson, SP for Howard University, Georgetown University and George Washington University

Submitted by: Kerensa Peterson, NBOME

This SP wrote a poem about her SP experience and transition during COVID. It begins, “To be an SP is a challenging role. We show syndromes and symptoms in body and soul. We try to recall every smile, word, and action. So our feedback’s reflective of each interaction…

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SP Stories: Corona Thoughts

By: David Weiss

Submitted by: Kerensa Peterson, NBOME

David Weiss is a Standardized Patient at Northwestern University and Rush University in Chicago, IL. David created a beautiful (and brief) sound story – listen to Corona Thoughts.

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Love is Everything

By: Hamilton Sage, SP at Emory University

Interviewed by: Mary Launder, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, and edited by Kerensa Peterson, NBOME

How has your experience as an SP changed since  the pandemic? Well, it’s definitely changed quite a  bit as far as just shifting over from in person  to Zoom, and actually, I think it was a very tall task considering the size of some of these events. There’s like 60 plus learners sometimes and [the staff’s] ability to set up different rooms and get it all logistically running smoothly, it’s been pretty cool. It’s been a blessing for me because I’ve been able to continue to have some income from home without having to put myself or my family at risk by going out and interacting with people. I’ve been really grateful for that.

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My SP Experience During the Pandemic

By: Susan Ganger, SP at The Ohio State University and Crossing Guard

Submitted by: Kerensa Peterson, NBOME

I will try my best to give my input into what it has been like to be a SP during this pandemic. I am at a bit of disadvantage as I had just started as a SP in February and only had one live interaction  before the shutdown occurred. So, I don't have a lot of experience with the pre-pandemic routine.

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My SP Experience During the Pandemic

By: Bill Goldsmith, SP and Theatre Artist

Submitted by: Todd Lash, The Ohio State University and Kerensa Peterson, NBOME

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My Covid-19 Story from the SP Point of View

By: An Anonymous SP from a University in the Midwest
Submitted by: Kerensa Peterson, NBOME

Q: How has your experience as an SP changed since the pandemic? Greater lulls between SP events to participate in throughout the past few months, that's for sure. I was afraid we wouldn't have any events as soon as we did. Either June or July, if memory serves. When we definitely didn't have any in the months of April and May. Even if they have been through Zoom and not in person. That's another thing. Working remotely/virtually has certainly been different. Makes my job harder, I believe. Sure, it's nice to be able to stay home and work from there, but it puts pressure on me to still be able to react properly to a learner's body language. Having that extra barrier between us makes all of that a little harder to decipher. Occasionally, I feel drained. Zoom fatigue, as it were.
Q: Have you had to look for other work? If so, what are you doing? I've certainly tried to, if I'm being honest. Steadier work with actual benefits. It's not easy. Especially considering I would prefer something like that within this line of work. I've been using sites like Indeed and LinkedIn. Just searching for stuff like creative writing positions or movie production positions. Yet, like I said, I really enjoy being a standardized patient and would really love to have steadier work hours with benefits through this program.

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My COVID Experience, a True Learning Experience

Author: Derek Ratliff
Submitted by: Kerensa Peterson

My name is Derek Ratliff, and I am an SP (and Event Assistant) at Emory University School of Medicine. I have been at Emory for nearly three years. It has been one of the greatest joys of my life! For some reason, I have always been drawn to the medical field. I remember fondly as a child that I wanted to be a doctor, which I know for children, that is probably one of the first things they say when asked the proverbial question “what do you want to be when you grow up.” However, when I got to college (UNC-Chapel Hill – GO HEELS!!!), I decided to become a pharmacist instead. I suppose I thought the challenges of being a doctor were just too great. But then I realized that being a pharmacist was not what I wanted to be either. So, I changed my major to music education midway through college.

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Diagnosed During a Pandemic

Author: Felisha McNeal
Submitted by: Kerensa Peterson and Marsha Harman

Can you tell our readers a little about yourself? My name is Felisha McNeal. I’m retired from the state of Illinois. I worked there for 30 years. I’m an actress and I had been acting while I was working full time and raising my daughter, for about the same amount of time, about 30 years. Then, when I won the Jefferson Award in 2013, I was very close to retirement and I had convinced myself that I would start acting fulltime and I would retire the following year, which I did. Maybe a year or two after I retired, I auditioned at Northwestern to do standardized patient work. I was fortunate enough to be chosen. Yeah, it was 2015 when I started working there. I’m trying to get with [other places]. But I do want to expand my standardized patient work. It’s such important work, that I do want to do it more.

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My COVID Story

Author: Tamara Bodnar
Submitted by: Kerensa Peterson and Mary Lander

March 13 was the day that everything changed. Chicago’s shelter-in-place would go into effect a week later, but that Friday I watched as all of my sources of income vanished thanks to COVID-19. Everything I was doing - preparing for a spring full of standardized patient work, music directing a production of Mary Poppins for a children's theatre, rehearsing for a cabaret, and gearing up for a busy audition season - came to a screeching halt. I'll never forget that feeling of uncertainty, the loss of control, the panic settling in of how quickly everything had gone down in flames and how I was going to get through it. I remember going over to a friend and fellow SP’s apartment for a night of baking, the mood somber as we processed the news of cancelled projects, lost paychecks and a precarious future together.

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My SP Story During COVID

Author: Mary Gray
Submitted by: Kerensa Peterson and Todd Lash

I graduated with a degree in theatre, specifically performance, from that school up north in the 1980’s. A job with a for-profit company brought me to Columbus upon the completion of my degree. The company transferred the Columbus native to the Detroit area, and me, the Detroit area kid, to Columbus. A bit of a joke on someone’s part, I suppose, and now home to me for over three decades.

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