Actors Play Patients to Train Medical Students for Real-Life Work

Actors play patients to train medical students for real-life work


More great simulation news from Singapore this week, with an article highlighting the use of Standardized Patients to help medical students learn. Read last week’s article about the new partnership between SingHealth and the SCDF for paramedic simulation training.

Excerpt from StraitTimes:

Medical schools are turning to part-time actors to help students polish their bedside manners, long before they reach a real patient’s bedside. The actors take part in elaborate role plays, simulating patients to help mimic the challenges of hospital work. This could mean playing a distraught family member, a patient who cannot speak English or a senior doctor.

“I’m driven very much by the fact that it gives me a chance to help put the doctors’ hearts into medicine,” said Mr Davin Boo, who used to be a bit-part actor and is now self- employed.

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The 48-year-old has been part of the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine’s programme for the past three years.

Even with acting experience, he said that working as a simulated patient can be challenging as it requires improvisation. I’ve been lectured by doctors or felt judged, or just treated as a figure in a ward. It’s wonderfully satisfying to be able to help change that. DAPHNE ONG, a professional actress, on what she hopes to achieve by working as a simulated patient. “As an actor, you just go by the script,” he said. “As an actor, you just go by the script,” he said. “As a simulated patient, you may be able to pre- empt responses, but it’s not a fixed script on the other end.”

Retired teacher Eugene Eu, 58, said that he likes the ability to interact with young people and – a personal bonus – understand what his daughter has to deal with. “My daughter has just started doing her nursing diploma and, with this experience that I have, I’m able to empathise with her,” he said. “We have this thing in common.”

NUS has around 160 such actors, while the new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has around 100. Associate Professor May Lim, who is programme director for occupational therapy at SIT, said: “We decided it’s very important for students to learn from the people they will be treating, through interaction in the community and beyond a clinical setting.”

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ASPE Asia-Pacific Conference Opens at National University of Singapore

aspe 2016 singapore asia pacific standardized patients

HealthySimulation was on hand today for the opening of the Association for Standardized Patient Educators Asia-Pacific Conference which took place at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Over 100 participants from around the region and the world came together for three days to focus on the methodology and application of Standardized Patient education within healthcare programs.

Grace Gephardt Director, PULSE Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and President of ASPE opened the show and reminded participants about the online learning opportunities on the ASPE website.

The opening keynote address was provided by Professor Carol Pfeiffer PhD, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine on the “History and Development of SP Methodology”. Her presentation helped to define SPs and assessment opportunities using them, described the historical history of SPs , provided a working definition of instrument validity, as well as cited several forms of evidence supporting the validity of SP training.

About ASPE

The Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) is the international organization of simulators educators dedicated to: promoting best practices in the application of SP methodology for education, assessment and research. ASPE fosters the dissemination of research and scholarship in the field of SP methodology and advances the professional knowledge and skills of its members. ASPE transforms professional performance through the power of human interaction.

Learn more by following @HealthySim, @ASPE_tweets and visiting!

INACSL’s Latest Simulation in Nursing Journal Highlights Standardized Patients

nursing simulation journal

Suzie Kardong-Edgren, Director of the RISE Center at Robert Morris University, Drexel Faculty member, and INACSL Simulation in Nursing Journal editor recently shared “Standardized Patients have been a part of health professional education for over 50 years now. As an educational field that continues to grow in scholarship and practice, the editors of Clinical Simulation in Nursing feel the time is right to dedicate a special issue to examining ongoing contributions, share best practices and honour debates within the live simulation field relevant to its practitioners and health professional educators more broadly.”

INACL invites health professionals who are engaging standardized patients (SPs) in simulation education to submit manuscripts for a special issue to be published in July 2017.

Nancy McNaughton, M.Ed., Ph.D., Associate Director, Standardized Patient Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and Mindi Anderson, PhD, ARNP, CPNP-PC, CNE, CHSE-A, ANEF, University of Central Florida College of Nursing will serve as the guest editors for this special issue.

When submitting manuscripts for this special issue, please select “special issue” when the choices appear.

Clinical Simulation in Nursing is the flagship journal of the International Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning. The journal provides a forum for research, innovation, review, and debate in simulation. The journal is dedicated to the advancement of simulation as an educational strategy to improve patient care. A double blind peer-review process is used for all submissions.

Manuscripts for consideration should be submitted to Clinical Simulation in Nursing ( by 15 February, 2017.

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SimGHOSTS USA 2016 Day 2 Opens with Laerdal Sponsored Plenary Address From ASPE President

simghosts aspe standardized patients

Today at SimGHOSTS 2016 USA Laerdal Medical sponsored the opening plenary address by Grace Gephart Director, PULSE Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and ASPE President.

About Grace

Grace Gephardt, MEd is the Director of the PULSE Simulation Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She joined the PULSE Center in 2007 as their Standardized Patient Educator and became the Director in 2013. In her tenure, she has been involved in creating and implementing numerous comprehensive simulation scenarios for multidisciplinary use, including the development and launching of a national training in patient/family communications for pediatric chaplains. In 2014, she was nominated for and received the ‘Outstanding SP Educator of the Year’ award from the Association of Standardized Patient Educators and currently serves as President on the organization’s Board of Directors. Grace is also a member of SSH, SESAM and SimGHOSTS.

About ASPE

In 1963 a neurologist by the name of Howard Barrows discovered that a lay person could be trained to simulate illness and give feedback to medical students about their history and communication skills. He called this person a simulated patient and defined it as “a person who has been carefully coached to simulate an actual patient so accurately that the simulation cannot be detected by a skilled clinician. In performing the simulation, the SP presents the gestalt of the patient being simulated; not just the history, but the body language, the physical findings, and the emotional and personality characteristics as well.” Gradually, the use of the simulated patient began to grow in medical education. Educators found that simulated patients offered not only a variety of teaching opportunities for students, but also opportunities for testing student performance. Out of this testing environment grew the term “standardized patient” or “SP.”

As Gayle Gliva-McConvey explains, “An SP is a person trained to portray a patient scenario, or an actual patient using their own history and physical exam findings, for the instruction, assessment, or practice of communication and/or examining skills of a health care provider. In the health and medical sciences, SPs are used to provide a safe and supportive environment conducive for learning or for standardized assessments. SPs can serve as practice models, or participate in sophisticated assessment and feedback of learner’s abilities or services. The use of simulated scenarios involving humans is rapidly expanding to meet the needs of many high-risk service fields outside of human health care.” As simulated/standardized patient methodology grew, educators felt a need to develop an organization that could foster the growth of the profession that was creating and supporting this new methodology. Thus, in 2001, the Association of Standardized Patients was formed.

Since that time, our membership has grown along with the concept of standardized patients. Its use has expanded into many fields including dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, and allied health professions. Over the last decade, three simulation modalities have become intertwined – scenarios may now include SPs, task trainers and/or manikins; commonly known as “hybrid” simulations.

About Laerdal

The Laerdal Company was established in 1940. During our first two decades, we created innovative toys and books for children. In 1958, the company started to dedicate itself to advancing the cause of resuscitation and emergency care. In 1960, the first patient simulator Resusci Anne manikin was introduced to the market. A new logo was needed to reflect our mission. Our founder, Åsmund S. Laerdal, chose the image of the Good Samaritan. It depicts the ancient tale of the traveller whose selfless compassion and care saved the life of a total stranger. This became our emblem and our inspiration.

Today, Laerdal Medical is dedicated to helping save lives with product solutions, services, and system solutions that support the Chain of Survival. The Good Samaritan logo symbolizes our commitment to every health professional and volunteer who has learned how to save the life of a family member, friend, or stranger in need. The vision of Laerdal is that no-one should die or be disabled unnecessarily during birth or from sudden illness or trauma. Since its creation of the pioneering, and now world famous CPR practise manikin in 1960, the Resusci Anne; many more innovative products have followed to improve and support education for Healthcare Professionals around the world, as well as facilitate the spread of CPR knowledge and skills to the would be Samaritan in the wider lay community.

Laerdal has developed break-through technologies that have helped to define its portfolio of simulation, micro-simulation, virtual reality, automated external defibrillators and emergency therapeutic products as reputable market leaders. Other well-known brands include SimMan,SimBaby, SimNewB, HeartStart, Q-CPR, Stifneck, the Pocket Mask and BaXstrap.

Learn more about ASPE and follow #SG16USA for all the latest!

News Medical Interview with Simulation Thought Leader Regarding Role Playing in Healthcare Education

role playing in medical simulation

A little while ago on News Medical, Catherine Stoddart MBA, MSc, Chief Nurse Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust provided an interview regarding the use of role play simulation in her healthcare education program. Here are some excerpts from the article by James White, MPsych:

Do you think it would be worth like having refresher training for senior staff so they don’t become biased?

Yes, I do. I think one of the really hard things that happens particularly around patient experience is that people may have really good clinical care and the last thing they remember about their visit, is the fact that their discharge drugs arrived on time or a staff member was rude about arranging transport etc.

It’s a bit like going to Italy and then your plane’s late on the way home, and the last thing you remember is that you arrived three hours late and got an extra parking ticket, which spoilt the whole experience.

I think there’s something around how you show that to people, in a way that is good for senior staff, because we get used to some unfortunate facts, like we may say, “Oh sorry. You are ready to go home but it will take four hours for you to get discharge forms.” We get used to these difficulties and normalize them. But in actual fact it’s not acceptable because that’s what they’ll remember.

What type of training would you like to see taught to the next generation of healthcare within NHS? What would you like see implemented within the NHS?

We’re going to need simulation for technical skills for all disciplines along with covering the spectrum of high fidelity and then scenarios that are integrated education early on in their careers.

If I use an example again from Australia, the first year of undergraduate education in every discipline at one of the universities is taught together, 14 disciplines. You build inter-disciplinary trust and understanding for the basic education and skills of others.

The 14 professions will include medicine from this year. They have their professional subject matter, but subjects like communication, philosophy, quality and all those types of values are taught together.

We currently have a weird phenomenon where kids that are integrated in secondary schools are subdivided by discipline or profession at university and then brought back together in a working environment, and expected to form a cohesive group.

I would like to see us exploring that idea and you use simulation and team based learning. That brings a fundamental trust straight off because you understand other disciplines’ educational perspective. I’d love to see that within the NHS.

Read the full interview on News Medical’s website!

Supported Organization:

SimUTrach from SimUCare Allows for Simulated Tracheostomy Training on Standardized Patients | IMSH 2016 Interview

tracheostomy trainer

Another great video interview from HealthySim’s video series covering the exhibit hall floor of IMSH 2016, this time covering the Tracheostomy Trainer “SimUTrach” from SimUCare. This amazing innovative product allows healthcare simulation programs to add realistic tracheostomy care training onto real standardized patient experiences! Be sure to watch the video below to see how it all works! The company also provides wearable overlays for catheder insertion and IV sticks!

About SimUCare:

SimUCare provides simulated patient education and simulation facilitation training while using live, simulated patients to maintain realism and simulation devices specifically designed to elevate the simulated experiences. By enhancing the training process we provide the best fidelity possible and give the healthcare learners the most realistic environment in which to practice.

About SimUTrach:

A wearable tracheostomy care overlay system. The SimUtrach is a wearable chest overlay that represents a patient who has a tracheostomy. The learner can perform simulations that include tracheostomy assessment and care (non-ventilated) on the SP wearing the device. When the learner performs the procedure in a way that would hurt or cause discomfort to a real patient, the SP is alerted with a light vibration on their shoulder to react as a real patient would. Diverse skin tones and female model are planned for this device.

Visit SimUCare’s website to learn more today!

SimGHOSTS & ASPE Sign Affiliation Agreement to Improve Healthcare Learning Outcomes


The board members of ASPE and SimGHOSTS are thrilled to announce an affiliationbetween both global organizations to support the shared goals of improving healthcare education and patient safety. An agreement was signed following the International Meeting for Simulation In Healthcare, where members of both boards came together to finalize the document language. To celebrate, SimGHOSTS has extended their 50% annual subscription for ONE MORE MONTH! Sign up now and gain access to over 200 recorded sessions, a weekly forums digest, a growing document library, and more!

The overall aims of this affiliation include:

  • Promoting each respective organization and their endeavors amongst relevant networks and wider communities through a variety of routes including traditional and online marketing methods
  • Sharing & developing new knowledge, skills and resources to benefit the respective membership communities of each organization
  • Providing opportunities for collaboration at individual, institutional and organization-wide levels
  • Enhancing the dissemination of innovations and solutions to community identified problems amongst members and the wider simulation community
  • Establishing pathways for professional development and recognition of the Simulation Technology Specialist in healthcare including training programs and research
  • Exploring the collaborative development and administration of ASPE pre-conference specific events focused towards those operating healthcare simulation technology operated by SimGHOSTS.
  • Membership from both organizations will be provided discounted access to respective websites and will be invited to collaborate on research projects.
  • Furthermore, both organizations have reserved course hours at each other’s meetings to promote sharing and professional development.

Read the full SimGHOSTS / ASPE announcement here!

Also: Abstracts due for SimGHOSTS-ASPiH UK event!

Just a quick note to say that the SimGHOSTS-ASPIH UK Abstracts have been extended ONE week — so be sure to get your content in ASAP Sim Champs! Remember — you get a DISCOUNT on your registration when you are accepted to present!

UK (July 18th-20th) – Due February 15th (Submit Here)

Manchester Metropolitan University Awarded £152,000 From NHS for ‘Simulated Patient’ Training Programs

simulated patient programs

Sharing today the work of the UK & Australian Simulation Champions listed below who are researching simulated patient methodology which I have been told is “of a different flavor”.

Current research

Simulated Patients (SPs) are real people trained to portray patients and to give feedback to learners on their interactions. SPs are involved in simulation-based education to help to provide a safe environment for the ‘patient’ and learner in which to rehearse ‘patient-centeredness’ and other critical aspects of healthcare professionalism. SPs are commonly involved in teaching, research and curriculum development in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as advisors.

Manchester Metropolitan University have been awarded £152,000 from NHS Health Education North West, to develop two regional ‘Simulated Patient’ training programmes. The project teams involve specialists from UK and International universities.

Simulated Patients: blending performing arts pedagogy and healthcare education –  The aim of this project is to develop a ‘Train-The-Simulated Patient’ (2TSP) programme, which will embed performing arts methodology to enhance the quality of the healthcare learning environment for existing and future workforce training and development.

Simulated Patients: a standardised, quality assured approach to training and implementation – The aim of this project is to improve knowledge, awareness and best practice in relation to embedding SPs within simulation-based education or workforce development training programmes in the UK. The Simulated Patient Train The Trainer (SP3T) programme features a pre-requisite e-learning course followed by an interactive, evidence based workshop.

Principal Investigators

  • Suzanne Gough – Department of Health Professions
  • Leah Greene – Department of Health Professions and Nursing

Project Team

  • Mr Stuart Roberts – Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Mrs Ann Natali –  Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Visiting Professor Ralph MacKinnon – Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Mark Hellaby – North West Simulation Education Network, UK
  • Professor Debra Nestel – Monash University, Australia
  • Dr Neil Tuttle – Griffith University, Australia
  • Professor Brain Webster – Napier University, UK‌‌

Check out the Project Website and contact Debra Nestel for more information!

Free Webinar May 7th: Nursing & Theatre Department Collaborative Simulations

nursing simulations with theatre students

Last week I mentioned that SimulationIQ from Education Management Solutions had a great database of medical simulation whitepapers and recorded webinars. Learn all about the EMS database of clinical simulation content here. I just received word that the next free online webinar is taking place May 7th and is entitled “A Collaborative Simulation: Nursing and Theatre Departments Use Forum Theatre to Teach End-of-Life Skills”. Even if you are not at a campus with a theatre program, medical simulation programs should consider reaching out to local schools or theatre groups to explore collaborative relationships as this provides a unique and mutually beneficial exercise for both groups.

Presented by:
Patricia M. (Wall) McCauley, MSN, RN
Director, Clinical Resource and Simulation Center
Regis College, School of Nursing, Science, and Health Professions

And Janis Tuxbury, DNP, FNP-BC
Nursing Faculty
Regis College, School of Nursing, Science, and Health Professions

Abstract: Nursing students must gain knowledge and develop skills in end-of-life care as part of their education. However, students may not have the opportunity during their clinical experiences to care for such a patient. A collaborative effort between the nursing and theatre departments at one college addresses this possible deficit. The webinar will describe the method of forum theatre and explain how it has been used to teach end-of-life nursing skills.

Wednesday, May 7 at 2:00 pm EDT (1:00 pm CDT12:00 pm MDT11:00 am PDT)

Click here to register for this FREE webinar event!

Learn more about Regis College here.

What should we pay Standardized Patients?

What is the hourly pay range for standardized patients?

Gigi Guizado, SP Coordinator for the University of Nevada School of Medicine who works at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas wrote in to answer a community-asked question “What should we pay standardized patients?”

standardized patient pay range

Gigi writes “Standardized Patients (SPs) hourly rates vary regionally based on the cost of living and other market factors.  Another consideration is what the SPs are being asked to do, as in sensitive manuevers such breast exam versus basic non-invasive physical exam. For basic standardized patient work, I’ve seen wages as high as $20.00 per hour on the West Coast, plus free parking.  Some markets include travel time, mileage, bridge toll, meals, etc. as well.

If you required case development/writing, or anything involving the sexual organs/nudity, the cost would go up considerably. I should also add that guaranteeing a minimum number of hours is also helpful.  Depending on the market factors in your area, SPs may or may not be willing to work for 1.5 hours, because their net income for the day ends up not being worth it, considering their travel time and other opportunities they may have to turn down. Guaranteeing them a minimum of 2-3 hours of pay, can help you build and maintain a reliable pool of SPs.  In this light, $50.00 for 1.5 hours of non-invasive SP work can make sense. ”

What does your institution pay Standardized Patients? Leave a comment in this article’s post by clicking on the title!