Since 2009, I have worked at the Albany Medical Center (AMC) as a standardized patient. It has been a great part-time job to help subsidize my income as a freelance artist and designer. Working with the students and other standardized patients has been a wonderful experience. Part of what makes it a great job for me is being able to sketch on breaks or while observing student–patient encounters. The state-of-the-art facilities at AMC have two cameras per room, offering a great vantage point for observing students and patients participating in encounters. Although most encounters are under 15 minutes, there are 5 to 8 minutes where the student asks the patient questions about his or her medical history, including history of present illness, past medical history, and family history. During that time, I am able to quickly scribble down a likeness of the student with pencil on paper while viewing the encounter on a computer monitor in a separate viewing room. Although all of the students wear a standard lab coat and dress professionally, I am often struck by how individual they appear. It may be their posture on the stool, how they hold the clipboard and pen for jotting down notes, or it may be each student’s stylish accessories, such as a pair of pointy shoes or glasses that set them apart from each other. I’ve accumulated a number of these drawings and have turned some of them into finished paintings that hang in the standardized patient break room at AMC. One of these paintings appears on the cover of this issue.
Mr. Gregory is an artist living and working in Albany, New York. For more information, visit http://www.markgregoryart.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.