Debra Nestel (Director)

Professor of Simulation Education in Healthcare, School of Rural Health, HealthPEER, Monash University


Debra Nestel is Professor of Simulation Education in Healthcare, School of Rural Health, HealthPEER, Monash University, Australia. Over the last 30 years, she has also worked at the University of Hong Kong, Monash University and Imperial College London. Her research interests include the role of simulation in supporting learning. Debra pioneered the concept of patient-focused simulation with her colleague Professor Roger Kneebone. The SP-based approach has been adopted internationally for teaching, learning and assessing procedural skills in medical education.

Debra has extensive experience of working with SPs to support the development of communication and other professional skills. This experience includes scenario development, training methods for role portrayal and feedback to learners. A thread through much of her work is the role of authentic simulation. In SP methodology this means offering authentic patient perspectives.

Debra uses qualitative research methods and has expertise in program evaluation.

Debra holds an honorary professorial appointment at the University of Melbourne where she is director of the Graduate Programs in Surgical Education co-badged with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Debra convenes the Masters of Health Professions Education at Monash University. She remains a consultant to Imperial College where she contributes to various research and educational programs.

Debra is a member of the Board of Directors of Simulation Australasia, Chair of the Research Committee, Society for Simulation in Healthcare and a past Chair of the Australian Society for Simulation in Healthcare. She is a life member of the Association of Standardized Patient Educators.

Debra is Editor in Chief, Advances in Simulation, a new open access journal associated by the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM).

Debra has published over 140 peer-reviewed publications and several book chapters in the field of clinical communication and simulation-based education. In 2015, she published an edited book on Simulated Patient Methodology: Theory, Evidence and Practice.