Association for Standardized Patient Educators Releases Standards of Best Practice

association for standardized patient educators standards

The Association for Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) have released Standards to go alongside those from INACSL, through the Journal Advances in Simulation which is free for all readers! In this paper, ASPE defines the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) Standards of Best Practice (SOBP) for those working with human role players who interact with learners in a wide range of experiential learning and assessment contexts. Contributors include: Karen L. Lewis, Carrie A. Bohnert, Wendy L. Gammon, Henrike Hölzer, Lorraine Lyman, Cathy Smith,Tonya M. Thompson, Amelia Wallace and Gayle Gliva-McConvey.

The five domains identified by the document include:

Domain 1: Safe work environment
Domain 2: Case development
Domain 3: SP training
Domain 4: Program management
Domain 5: Professional development

ASPE Standards Abstract

These human role players are variously described by such terms as standardized/simulated patients or simulated participants (SP or SPs). ASPE is a global organization whose mission is to share advances in SP-based pedagogy, assessment, research, and scholarship as well as support the professional development of its members.


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The SOBP are intended to be used in conjunction with the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) Standards of Best Practice: Simulation, which address broader simulation practices. We begin by providing a rationale for the creation of the ASPE SOBP, noting that with the increasing use of simulation in healthcare training, it is incumbent on ASPE to establish SOBP that ensure the growth, integrity, and safe application of SP-based educational endeavors.

We then describe the three and a half year process through which these standards were developed by a consensus of international experts in the field. Key terms used throughout the document are defined. Five underlying values inform the SOBP: safety, quality, professionalism, accountability, and collaboration.

Finally, we describe five domains of best practice: safe work environment; case development; SP training for role portrayal, feedback, and completion of assessment instruments; program management; and professional development. Each domain is divided into principles with accompanying key practices that provide clear and practical guidelines for achieving desired outcomes and creating simulations that are safe for all stakeholders.

Failure to follow the ASPE SOBP could compromise the safety of participants and the effectiveness of a simulation session. Care has been taken to make these guidelines precise yet flexible enough to address the diversity of varying contexts of SP practice. As a living document, these SOBP will be reviewed and modified periodically under the direction of the ASPE Standards of Practice Committee as SP methodology grows and adapts to evolving simulation practices.

You can review the and download the ASPE SOBP on the Springer Publisher Website!


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