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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Featured Job Listing: SP Program Coordinator for FIU in Florida

medical simulation jobs

Job Title: Program Coordinator (SP)
FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Miami, FL



The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine is currently seeking a Program Coordinator to join our team of professional.

Duties include:

  • Develops a recruitment, training and supervising plan for Standardized Patient Program participants.
  • Coordinates, manages, and supervises teaching and assessment activities involving medical students, interns, residents, physicians and other professions using Standardized Patients.
  • Provides training to standardized patients to include but not limited to feedback training, best practices for SP Education, current training techniques, and quality control procedures.
  • Assists in the orientation of students, residents and others to the activity and center.
  • Works with the Simulation Operations Manager and the Simulation Specialist in EMS (Education Management Solution) software to set up learner events.
  • Collaborates in case development and scenario design with the Medical Director for teaching and assessment activities involving standardized patients.
  • Assists with the promoting and implementation of Standardized Patient program services for the community.
  • Works with simulation administrator to create and design recruitment and marketing materials and website pages for distribution to potential applicants and program users.
  • Acts as a liaison to internal and external customers.
  • Maintains proficiency in existing and emerging trends in the use of Standardized Patients in medical education including basic theory, design and implementation, by maintaining a literature base, evaluating new methods and materials, and participating in education opportunities (travel to standardized patients educator conferences – ASPE).
  • Manages payroll for SPs and maintains budget for Standardized Patient Program. Reports to Medical Director at quarterly meetings.
  • Performs other duties as assigned. The omission of specific duties does not preclude the supervisor from assigning tasks that are logically related.


Bachelor’s degree and two (2) years of office or related experience.


  • Two (2) years of experience with Standardized Patients in medical education, health and/or educator background preferred.
  • Familiarity with teaching and assessment methods and technologies involved in the use of Standardized Patients preferred.


For more information or to apply, please visit us on-line at and reference job opening ID 513053. Qualified applicants must submit a letter of interest accompanying their curriculum vitae with names and addresses of three professional references.

FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.


Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. It is a public research university with colleges and schools that offers more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU contributes $9.8 billion each year to the local economy. FIU is Worlds Ahead in finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded over 200,000 degrees and enrolls more than 54,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell, FIU @ I-75, and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU also supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA and has over 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. 

Apply Here for this position!

Cardionics Provides SimScope Auscultation Simulator for Real-Time Standardized Patient Learning

auscultation simulator

Looking to enable your learners to be able to realistically take simulated auscultation vitals of standardized patients? SimScope from Cardionics can now help you do just that!

The SimScope is a simulation electronic stethoscope designed to provide real-time standardized patient interaction and assessment. The SimScope uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to identify specific locations on the human body and plays the same corresponding sound that an acoustic stethoscope would present. What makes the SimScope unique over other simulation scopes is the custom designed chest piece. Inside is a RFID reader that scans for patches worn by a standardize patient, so when the chest piece and patch come into close proximity to each other the patch is wirelessly interrogate for information. The SimScope uses this information to determine the sound assigned to this site from a playlist created by the instructor. Once the chest piece is removed from the patch the sound stops playing just like a real stethoscope.

Another technology advancement is the addition of Wi-Fi which allows for scenario changes while the SimScope is active. For example, a student examines the standardized patient and makes an assessment. Following the correct treatment recommendation, the instructor can then ask the student to reexamine the patient to hear the difference!

The number of sounds found in the SimScope library is almost limitless due to its large SD memory card inside. All settings, configurations and sound assignments are accessed via a mini USB port. Once setup the SimScope will operate as a stand-alone device with voice prompts alerting the user from mode of operation to battery condition. The technical challenge for the designer was creating a small device that uses a AAA battery to power a Wi-Fi module, RFID reader and play sounds for long periods of time before a battery replacement.

SimScope System Details:

With the new SimScope WiF upgrade, users are able to utilize wireless communication between the Simscope and their computer allowing them to seamlessly select and change the pathological sounds and conditions of any standardized patient, O.S.C.E. or low-fidelity manikin.

  • SimScope Patches are customizable and easily programmable to let specific diagnostic case studies. Matching the appropriate sound to the correct anatomical location enables authentic standardized patient interaction and student assessment in a variety of educational scenarios.
  • SimScope software and Cardionics proprietary sounds library of simulated heart, breath, bowel, and bruit sounds provide real time practice and mastery of standardized patient interaction.
  • SimScope plays the programmed heart, breath and bowel sounds specific to each correct anatomical location enabling a realistic standardized patient encounter. Up to 20 patches may be programmed and simultaneously activated with heart, breath, bowel, and bruit sounds to simulate real time auscultation during a physical exam.

Learn more by visiting the Cardionics website today!

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(ASPE) 2016 Association for Standardized Patient Educators June 26-29th in Tampa

standardized patient educators conference

The ASPE Conference Committee has created a conference to engage, showcase creative works, stimulate professional development, and provide on-going opportunities to network and collaborate. We are delighted to have you with us and hope that you will find the conference productive and informative.

The best opportunity for networking in this field and growing professionally is the annual ASPE Conference. Preconference workshops offer a wide variety of focused sessions for the novice, intermediate, and seasoned educators. From basic program development for newcomers to research methods for scholars, these workshops have something for everyone.

The regular conference sessions consist of technique demonstrations, research/project posters, workshops, and panel discussions on a wide variety of SP and simulation topics, and technology sessions provide the latest in SP education technology support. Special interest groups have dedicated time and the annual Conference to meet and discuss shared goals.

Most unique to the conference is the town meeting where members bring their ideas and concerns directly to the ASPE president. Of course, there are always opportunities for fun with dine arounds and group activities.

Learn more on the ASPE 2016 Conference Home Page!

Simulab Unveils Sonoskin, Simple Product to Add Ultrasound Training to Simulation Programs


Just learned about a press release of an awesome new product from Simulab, called the Sonoskin, which allows your program to add a single layer of skin to manikins, standardized patients, or Simulab TraumaMan to view an Ultrasound image! Simulab continues to provide innovative realistic tools for medical simulation.

Introducing SonoSkin, the Wearable Diagnostic Ultrasound Trainer

The SonoSkin Diagnostic Ultrasound Wearable helps medical professionals learn to diagnose patient pathologies and train for FAST and eFAST exams.

Simulab announced yesterday the launch of SonoSkin —a groundbreaking training simulator designed to be worn by standardized patients or virtually any patient simulator— providing medical students and nurses with a realistic diagnostic ultrasound experience.

Karen Taylor, Vice President of Products at Simulab, explains that “Everything we create at Simulab is designed to constantly challenge student learning curves, so they can become more skilled in a growing variety of critical procedures.” She remarked, “SonoSkin is an easy way to bring FAST and eFAST training into any scenario you’re currently using and it can be worn by TraumaMan, a Standardized Patient or any high fidelity Patient Simulator.”

SonoSkin is the first in the company’s new line of SimuWear trainers and can be added to a variety of instructor led simulation procedures or used as stand-alone instruction to help students prepare for the FAST and eFAST exams. The wearable trainer is embedded with 41 unique ultrasound targets required for all exam windows. When used with SonoSkin software, instructors can present views stored in the pathology library of up to ten actual patients. SonoSkin has the ability to be set to “mentor” mode, which includes visual instruction and space for unique notations or “student “mode, which randomly selects patient scenarios for hands-on learning.

About Simulab

Simulab has been described as a practical engineering and manufacturing company—with a bit of mad scientist thrown in for good measure. We are truly passionate about human simulation realism that helps improve patient outcomes and reduces medical errors. Simulab’s goal over the past 22 years has been to create easy-to-use, portable, affordable, and clinically-relevant substitutes for both animal and human subjects used in medical training. And we have succeeded. Simulab’s TraumaMan and CentraLineMan are both the most widely used trainers, worldwide, in their respective fields. But the best is never good enough. Simulab is constantly pushing the bounds of human realism. The company’s mission is to create a human mimic so perfect that participants will feel immersed—truly and completely—in each and every procedural training.  Each day we get a little closer.

Check out HealthySim’s previous video experiences with Simulab here!

For a full list of features visit the Sonoskin webpage!

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Free EMS Webinar Next Wed: Training Simulated or Standardized Patients for Role Portrayal

simulation webinar
Another great webinar from EMS, this time on the acting

Presented by:
Debra Nestel, PhD, FAcadMEd, CHSE-A
Professor of Simulation Education in Healthcare School of Rural Health,
HealthPEER – Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – Monash University, Victoria, Australia

Abstract: High quality simulated or standardized patient (SP) work requires training for role portrayal and for feedback. The webinar is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on training approaches for role portrayal while the second considers ways to ensure establishing standardization prior to high stakes examinations. Training SPs for feedback is beyond the scope of this webinar.

The training approach draws on the tradition of theatre practitioner Stanislavski and comprises four steps: (1) developing the person’s character, (2) explaining the learning activity to the SPs, (3) exploring the clinical context and (4) rehearsing. Underpinning the approach is the notion that the character of the person to be portrayed remains prominent, allowing the SPs to develop a shared and coherent understanding of their role, the scenario and the overall activity (Nestel et al, 2014).

The readiness for participating in high stakes assessment draws on practices developed for the Pharmacy Board of Canada. Smith et al (2014) have developed materials that will be shared that facilitate SP educators in ensuring that standardization has been achieved.

The presenters will share their experiences and invite questions and comments.

Brought to you by:
Education Management Solutions (EMS)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2:00 pm EST
(1:00 pm CST; 12 Noon MST; 11:00 am PST)

Webinars are one hour in length. Space is limited. 

Click here to register for this FREE Webinar!

Face Substitution Has Potential For Medical Simulation

medical simulation virtual mask

TechCrunch recently posted an awesome video of “Face Substitute”, a small side project programmed by Audun Mathias Øygard. This webapp fits facial models to faces in images or videos. The implications to simulation are obvious here, where educators could put on a “mask” to help portray characters during distance learning courses.  Suddenly, you really do look like a completely different person, but can still speak and move as normal. After watching the video below, try it out for yourself by visiting the Face Substitute webpage.


“FaceSubstitute is a tech demo that lets you use your webcam to try on someone else’s face and it’s just as creepy/awesome as it sounds. The app currently has 17 different faces for you to “wear”, from celebs like Nicolas Cage and Brian Cranston to stranger, cartoony masks like “Picasso”, or “Abstract” that intentionally distort your face in the freakiest of ways.”

Check out the full TechCrunch article here and visit the Face Substitute page to try for yourself!

SimStudio, Free Regional Simulation Conferences & UCSF Aug. Recap!


Yesterday I was invited to present at SimStudio, a meeting that started in 2011 and has run five times around the country including New York, San Francisco Bay area and more. This is a FREE event, designed to provide equal exchange for simulation and standardized patient champions (who made up more than half of the room) to connect and share and connect with new ideas and people!

Simulation Studio was Co-Founded by Laurie Schroeder, Standardized Patient Educator and Medical Educator at NYIT and Tony Errichetti, Chief of Virtual Medicine at New York Institute of Technology’s New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. Tony introduced the keynote speaker Gayle Gliva-McConvey, Director of Professional Skills Teaching and Assessment at the Sentara Center for Simulation and Immersive Learning Eastern Virginia Medical School and President of APSE.

simulation studio keynote speaker 2013

Gayle provided a run down of how simulated patients got started in the 1950s, but really transformed into the term “Standardized Patients” as we know it today in the 1960s when actors started completing checklists. She then reminded us that SP’s offer benefits including being: available and reliable, standardized and repeatable, safe, trained for feedback, controllable and supportive. Today Gayle explains that SPs are becoming clinical faculty “extenders”, especially with the challenges that are now hitting healthcare including: increased clinical demands on clinical faculty, availability of faculty, variation amongst faculty, control of faculty, increased numbers of programs and students/residents, available time is decreasing, and the increased costs of faculty.

Gayle suggested that SP Coordinators have their SPs teach Physical Exams, through explanation, technique assessment and by providing feedback. Gayle continued to demonstrate to show how her SPs have taught how to suture through a program developed and overseen by the professional healthcare faculty. A survey of Nurse Practitioners who were trained through this program rated an 88% success rate for these skills being taught by SPs!

Next Connie Lopez MSN CNS National Leader, Patient Safety & Risk Management at Kaiser Permanente spoke about improving patient safety through simulation. In 1999 KP started looking at how to improve patient safety and found the greatest need for scenarios around treatment surgical, and diagnosis. When trying to convince administrators about the need to provide for hands-on practice, Connie shared how she explained that it would be like telling them she would teach them how to dance the tango over the phone and then later tonight they would need to get up and do it in front of the audience. Of course, they quickly understood the need to physically train on the didactic lessons their healthcare professionals were receiving. Knowing that hands-on learning increases retention rate to 75%, KP decreased birth injuries by 80% within just a few years of starting simulation trainings.

Adam Collins MD Anesthesiologist at UCSF spoke to the audience about the need to change healthcare education, siting that in the USA the cost of healthcare is 20% of the National GDP, which is greater than Japan, Germany, China, the UK, Canada and Brazil combined! Although the US is #1 in spending, the world super power is rated 38th in performance.

Adam reminded us that medicine has uncertainty and ambiguity in its knowledge base that exceeds human capacity, and which is always changing. To deal with this, he suggested healthcare better explore the administrative successes of Toyota’s LEAN project. LEAN is a production practice that leads to extermination of waste, which is most commonly found in transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, overproduction ,over-processing, and defects. Dr. Collins reminded us that “Miller’s Learning Retention Pyramid scores “can do” as the highest form of learning and knowing before asking us “If healthcare is about the doing, why are learning and relearning the Krebs cycle? It’s like bringing a TV on a hike up the mountain, and we as healthcare providers should get to doing earlier”. Of course, Adam believes medical simulation provides for the opportunity for teaching by doing where the rubber meets the road.

Next, Dr. John Boulet presented on “Beyond Psychometrics” where he encouraged us to track data, but poignantly noted that the human element should not be denied because we cannot measure everything, no matter how hard we try. Poker, for example, is a game of statistics, but also a game of bluffs – and gut feelings should be considered part of the data analyzed.

Several times throughout the day SP actors got in front of the audience playing parts to scenes that taught or entertained. This was a wonderful way of breaking up the day, and demonstrating the process actors go through to build a Standardized Patient. Such sessions from Educators, Physicians, Administrators, Entrepreneurs, Standardized Patient Actors, Clinicians and other all contributed to a meeting that broke down mental barriers and promoted collaborative learning.

I was thrilled to be invited to present on the benefits of the film-making production techniques of considering “mise-en-scene”, or what “goes in front of the camera”. The denotative props, hair, wardrobe, lighting, and background noise of your simulations all contribute to the connotative feeling or message being conveyed to simulation primary learners AND secondary learners watching via video link. This “education for all” free chautauqua style short presentations day-long meeting was a real pleasure to meet and connect with other simulation and standardized patient champions.

SimStudio is planning more amazing events at a location near you starting with Drexel University in Philadelphia next month, so visit to learn more today! 

Blood Pressure Simulator “BPsim” From KBPort

blood pressure simulator

While covering the KBPort booth at INACSL 2013, I ran into Angela Hoenig, Senior Healthcare Simulation Consultant at WorldPoint ECC who has partnered with KBPort to build the “BPsim” – an absolutely amazing Blood Pressure Cuff Simulator. You have never seen a medical simulation task trainer like this before so quickly increase fidelity on so many levels! Watch the video below to see the BPsim in action:

What I really liked about this device was how realistic the blood pressure cuff was, how detailed you could get with the settings, and how it will work on manikins, IV Arm task trainers AND humans! Yes, you can but this simulator over a human arm and hear the simulated blood pressure because the device is louder than the patients. This is really awesome product and I highly suggest you check it out next time it is on display at a medical simulation conference.

Blood Pressure Measurement Simulator Breakdown:

BPsim provides controlled practice to achieve high competency in detecting and measuring blood pressure. The realistic manual blood pressure cuff can be used on standardized patients and mannequin simulators. The BPsim is managed from a remote tablet and can be programmed for any range of blood pressure: Hypo-tension, Normal, Pre-hypertension, Hypertension (Stages 1&2) and Hypertensive Crisis.

Key Features

  • Works With Any Standard Stethoscope
  • Realistic Analog Sphygmomanometer
  • Programmable Systolic and Diastolic (mmHg) Settings
  • Realistic Korotkoff Sounds
  • Programmable Heart Rate
  • Multiple Cuff Units Can Be Controlled By One Tablet
  • Rechargeable Battery for 9 Hours of Usage

Learn all about the BPsim at!