Preparing for simulation sessions

How to prepare a simulated patient for their role

It is vital to the success of a simulation that the Simulated Patient (SP) is well prepared for their role. They should be made aware of nature of the scenario when they are first approached about the role, and then provided with a full copy of the scenario to allow them to prepare for the role.

It is also important that you have a briefing session with the SP.

This should include a rehearsal or demonstration of scenario events and should also include a discussion of:

  • what the learning objectives are
  • the character background
  • how long they will be in role
  • how and when to redirect the scenario if required
  • the feedback (if any) they will need to provide to participants
  • what to do in a time-out (look down, close eyes) and when to re-engage
  • risks
  • a time-out signal that they can use if they feel unsafe

In the rehearsal, make sure you demonstrate any assessments or examinations that the participants may perform on the SP, and coach the SP to provide the desired response.

You should also demonstrate any equipment that may be used with the SP in the scenario.

Try to anticipate as many of the participant questions/actions as you can. You will need to rehearse all of these with the SP so that they are prepared for all possibilities in the scenario.

Finally, ask the SP how they are feeling about the role, do they have any concerns about the role and do they have any questions.

Hopefully they will already have addressed this during the brief but it never hurts to ask again just to be certain that your SP is confident and well prepared for their role.