SPs are ‘proxies’ for real patients. They are well people trained to portray patients and to provide feedback from a patient perspective to learners and clinicians. SPs offer perspectives that are largely overlooked in formal education. Internationally, SPs make a significant contribution to high stakes assessments and continuing professional development. SPs can help address the most fundamental goals of the health care service – the delivery of the highest quality patient-centred care. SPs also have important implications for patient safety through helping students and clinicians appreciate the importance of giving meaningful information to patients and their relatives. As educators, they are an under tapped resource.

The SPN is applicable to several professional disciplines (medicine, nursing, midwifery, pharmacy, physiotherapy, paramedicine, medical imaging, dietetics & nutrition, psychology, occupational therapy, radiography, speech therapy and social work) where patient safety and patient perspectives are emerging components of their curricula.

The modules provide information to launch, benchmark and quality assure new and/or existing SP based programs and to inspire creative ways of working with technology and SPs.

We define ‘faculty’ as SPs, tutors, clinicians and administrators involved in developing, delivering and evaluating SP-based education. The term ‘student’ is used to describe any potential learner (or clinician) across the health and social care professions.

The SPN provides a professional network, website and e-learning resources for individuals involved in the recruitment, training and quality assurance of SPs to work in all areas and at all levels of health professional training and professional development.

Key facets of SP methodology are presented, explained and illustrated, available anytime and wherever they are needed.