The Simulated Patient Network (SPN) offers a range of courses for individuals working with Simulated (standardized) Patients (SPs). The courses are likely to be of interest to simulation educators, technicians, clinicians, SPs and to some extent learners involved in undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional training in all health and social care disciplines. All courses are designed to take three hours except for the Foundation Program (M1) which takes five hours.

In each course, you are also introduced to a wide range of resources with core and extension work by experts in the field. Throughout each course, you are encouraged to make meaning of the content for your own setting.

The SPN modules are offered via the which is accredited by the State of California DCA Board of Registered Nursing as a Continuing Education Provider #CEP17566. As is a US-based e-learning platform, all pricing quoted are in USD.

Course 1 – Foundation program in SP methodology


Foundation Program (M1) introduces the concept of SP methodology. It covers covering key terms and scope of practice, it considers the who, what, why and how of the method and acknowledges its origins. The scope of practice of SPs and their unique features are also discussed. The instructors outline standards associated with SP methodology and share some of their favourite SP methodology resources.

RN CE Contact Hours: 5

Course 2 – Creating roles for SPs

Course 2 (M2) introduces approaches to creating roles for Standardized Patients. This task is fundamental to SP work – usually a text document (sometimes with audiovisual supplements), the written SP role provides guidance to the SP about their character, the purpose of the scenario, their health issue (or other relevant information). There is no one right way to do this. However, some approaches seem better suited to some contexts than others. Templates are valuable for documenting roles. They prompt the authors for specific and usually critical information. We share approaches and templates.

RN CE Contact Hours: 3

Course 3 – Training methods for SPs – role portrayal

Course 3 (M3) introduces approaches to training SPs for role portrayal. There is no one right way to do this. We share approaches that we have used for many years and others that are documented in literature. The approaches are sufficiently flexible to suit the different contexts in which SPs work. They are engaging and the 4-stage approach is informed by performance theory. We also share techniques that help SPs to remember aspects of their roles for portrayal.

RN CE Contact Hours: 3

Course 4 – SP program management

Course 4 (M4) introduces core facets of simulated participant (SP) program management – whether a program is small or large, beginning or mature. Some of you will be managing a program on your own while others will have a team in place. We focus on five areas: key aspects of SP program management, including the types of activities and roles and responsibilities of the person responsible for program management; SP recruitment; SP databases; challenges in managing SP programs; and program quality management.

RN CE Contact Hours: 3

Course 5 – Working with Simulated Patients online – COMING SOON!

M5-working with sps online

This course introduces concepts and considerations of SP methodology when working with SPs online.

RN CE Contact Hours: 3

Course 6 – Training methods for SPs – feedback

This course introduces concepts of feedback and training methods to support SPs in feedback and/or debriefing with learners.

Course 7 – The art and science of teaching and learning with SPs using audio-visual review

This course introduces the use of audio-visual review in simulation for supporting feedback processes intended to support learning. The role of the SP is explored in this process.

Course 8 – SPs in assessments

This course considers the role of SPs in performance-based assessments, with an emphasis on the process of standardization. Systematic and rigorous strategies are provided.

Course 9 – Developing hybrid simulations

This course introduces the concept of hybrid simulations. That is, the blending of at least two simulation modalities in a scenario. We illustrate the approach with use the popular example of patient-focused simulations for procedural skills.

Course 10 – SPs and moulage

This course introduces moulage as a technique to creating authentic simulation experiences. Basic moulage techniques are outlined with suggestions for creative use of products to offer visual and olfactory cues to participants in simulations.

Course 11 – Debriefing SPs after simulation events

This course introduces core facets of debriefing SPs involved in scenarios. Working as an SP can be emotional work and SPs often need to be supported in “de-roling” and in debriefing. There is a focus on using systematic approaches.

Course 12 – Interprofessional SP-based education

This course introduces SP work in interprofessional teams. Approaches to SP scenario development for a team of health professionals are provided and special considerations for supporting SPs.

Course 13 – Children and adolescents as SPs

This course introduces approaches to working with children and adolescents as SPs (CASPs). The course covers all facets of CASP involvement in simulation with a particular focus on ethical considerations.