September – October 2015

October 2015

The simulated patient on BBC Radio 4

This audio piece discusses how the simulated patient facilitate the teaching of communication skills in the training of doctors, in particular, for empathy. It provides multiple perspectives featuring the voices of educators, simulated patients, doctor trainees as well as older doctors and medical professionals. The piece discusses how the need to train young doctors in communication skills was driven by a report from the General Medical Council in the UK (Tomorrow’s Doctors) in the early 1990s. The report pushed for formal training in this area.

The older doctors and medical professionals shared how they had learned their bedside manners in the past – either from mentors or it was instilled in them by family values. They were sceptical on whether bedside manners can be formally taught. They argued that it should be learned on the job and something that one should have within them.

Proponents of the idea that such skills can be taught posit that better communication skills ensure doctors can make better diagnoses. In addition, doctors are able to build rapport with their patients, therefore it will be easier to get patients to agree to work with their recommendations.

Both sceptics and proponents agree though that empathy should be genuine even it is learned or not.

The story also highlights the personal impact to the actors working as SPs. It reminds the listeners that simulated patients can also be real patients. Richard Tate, one of the SPs interviewed believed that his most moving moments as an actor were when working with doctors.

To listen to this radio presentation, click here.

Research – Clinician and simulated patient scoring – the psychometrics of a national programme recruiting dentists to DF1 training posts

Wiskin et al. (2013) investigated if scoring by simulated patients (SPs) can be considered as part of the UK Dental Foundation 1 (DF1) recruitment process. The researchers compared scoring between paired clinicians as well as clinicians and SPs. The authors found encouraging results and suggest that SPs can be trained as assessors and will provide valuable non-clinical aspects to the recruitment process.

This paper was published in British Dental Journal 215, 125 – 130 (2013).

The abstract and access to the full paper is available via the British Dental Journal.

Upcoming conference – Simulation Summit 2015


The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is hosting the 2015 Simulation Summit. This conference will be held between 25-26 November at Banff, Canada. The theme this year is Fresh Tracks: Breaking trail–from theory to practice.

The program is available here.

For more information about the summit, visit the conference website here.



Upcoming conference – ASPiH Annual Conference 2015

The Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH) Annual Conference will be held in Brighton, UK between the 3-5 November 2015. The theme for this year is Improving Performance.

The conference program is available for download here.

For more information, visit the conference website here.

Paramedic students get “real life” practice via simulation learning at La Trobe University

WIN News Bendigo featured a section on simulation learning that takes place at La Trobe University. Third-year paramedic students were given hands-on experience through a car crash scenario. SPs enacted the scenario as injured victims. Students believed the exercise helps to alleviate their anxiety on handling similar situations in their professional practice once they graduate.

See the video here.

September 2015

Recommended reading list for SP educators

This list was compiled by Connie Coralli from Emory University School of Medicine. She suggested the top five ‘must-have’ books for SP educators and included a mini review of each book. Her recommendations also included a book edited by our own Director, Professor Debra Nestel entitled Simulated Patient Methodology – Theory, Evidence and Practice.

To see what other books are included, obtain the full list from here.

Research – Forerunner Project by Manchester Metropolitan University – Simulated Patients: A standardised quality assured approach to training and implementation

The Forerunner project was funded by the Health Education North WestManchester Metropolitan University carried out four projects including one on simulated patients. The rationale for the project was that there was no standardised approach to training trainers and SPs in the UK. Adopting an existing model that was developed in Australia, an international team was recruited for the project.

The Simulated Patient Common Framework (which considers recruitment and selection processes, resources, training, risk assessment as well as quality assurance procedures) together with an e-learning course and workshops were used as a model for a standardised, quality-assured approach to training and implementation.

For more details about the Forerunner projects by Manchester Metropolitan University, click here.

For more details about the Forerunner Fund, click here.

Upcoming workshop – “Using simulation for supervision training, communication & handover” by Victorian Simulation Alliance (VSA)

This workshop will be hosted at the Sunshine Simulation Centre on Wednesday 21st October at 5pm – 7.30pm. For more details and registration, please contact:

Nina Klein
Executive Officer
Victorian Simulation Alliance Inc
T: +61 3 9209 5107

SPs – The Human Learning Tool

The South California Public Radio (89.3 KPCC) discusses the important role that SPs play in medical school. The piece suggests that SPs are invaluable in teaching doctors compassion. It also explores both the perspectives of the SPs and medical student that they had interviewed on their experiences with this methodology.

This audio is accessible from here.