This post is a guest post from Libby Harrison. Libby is regular contributor to the content in the SPN website. Recently, she has started a new venture, Add Lib focusing on representing other SPs and role player, including training them. Here Libby talks a little about her business, and also how she and the SPs in her team are adjusting to the changes in role requirements due to Covid-19.
I have started a Simulated Patient business after identifying a gap in the market in Qld. Having more than 14 years experience as a role player in multiple environments, as well as running a SP program at a Qld university for 10 years, I know the clients’ needs and can provide outstanding SPs for them. All our Simulated Patients are highly trained. There is an excellent spread of ages ranging from children to 80 year olds. We have SPs who are fluent in some foreign languages, and also some with Indigneous backgrounds. We focused on handpicking some of these SPs after noting the market gap.
The SPs are trained not only in all aspects of simulated patient work, but also in how to give accurate and concise feedback to the student. Some of our SPs have been working successfully through the Covid crisis using telehealth style scenarios. I have been doing some Simulated Patient shifts from home. The students are given scenarios where utilising telehealth is a part of it, rather than trying to pretend we are in the same room. It keeps things as realistic as possible, and sometimes means that the SP can legitimately work in their dressing gown, which is just fabulous! I like to spend some time making my close surroundings as ‘in character’ as possible so the students can see a bit of each character’s ‘house’. It is wonderful that technology allows students to keep studying successfully and in an interactive manner without leaving home. We have found that the SPs get huge personal satisfaction out of still being able to provide our service. It is definitely a job to be proud of.
I love to hear stories of SPs who have been recognised by former students who are now working in hospitals or private practices. I was at a hospital recently and a doctor kept looking at me even though I was not the patient. Eventually he asked if he knew me from somewhere, and we worked out that I had been a regular SP at his university years beforehand. While I was quite proud that he remembered me, my husband got a much bigger kick out of it. He couldn’t wait to tell everyone that his wife had helped in the training of this doctor! Another SP took her daughter to the GP. It turned out that he was a former student she had worked with. Because part of the training was how to work with children, she was very impressed with how well the doctor handled the appointment, talking to the child directly etc. She had such a ‘proud mum’ moment, not for her own daughter, but for the former student!
Pride in the job plays a big part of being an SP. A lot of SPs, including me, have an acting background. We are used to entertaining people or selling a product, but being an SP is different. We are helping to build better health professionals. There is so much job satisfaction in that and I have never been more proud of what I do. We make people better at making people better!
Libby and her team of SPs can be contacted via:
Specialised Casting Director
0410 570 200
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SimulatedPatients