Recruiting simulated patients

Interview questions

Here are some great interview questions to determine whether or not your candidate would be a suitable simulated patient.

This was originally adapted from the University of Toronto online resources


Simulated Patient (SP) Interview Questions

Name ……………………………………….

Contact ph.: ………………………………

Email: ……………………………………….

Do you have any previous acting experience or acting training?

Not necessary, but important to note

Do you have a health background or an interest in health?

Not necessary, but important to note. If they have a health background, it’s important for them to acknowledge and understand that they are not to comment on their medical/health knowledge when giving feedback to students.

If SP’s start talking about their own experiences with health professionals, it’s to ascertain if they have any prejudices or biases towards health professionals.

Do you have any previous teaching experience?

Not necessary, but important to note

What is your availability? (Days/ Nights/ Weekends)

The most flexible SP’s are the easiest to schedule.  Generally retired SP’s are the easiest to book; people who are working 3-5 days per week may not be suitable.

In a university setting, ideally people would be available during semesters or the peak exam periods. Therefore, students may not be ideal depending on their workload.

Please describe any limitations in terms of travel/transportation?

Transport could be an issue if they need to travel for a simulation, or if they need a reliable means of transport to get to sessions in a timely manner.

Are you comfortable with the student touching your body to practice an assessment? (Neck, leg, back, stomach, etc.)

This wouldn’t exclude someone from being a simulated patient; it would limit their roles however.

If a simulation requires you to disrobe and/ or wear a hospital gown, what would be your comfort level with this? Please describe any limitations.

This wouldn’t exclude someone from being a simulated patient; it would limit their roles however.

Some of the simulations that we conduct would require your feedback about the simulation (for example, how you felt the clinician gained your rapport, communication style of the clinician etc.). Do you feel that you could give honest feedback to a participant about their communication style?

Feedback is one of the hardest things an SP can do, and it’s very hard to give constructive feedback. This is one area you will have to train the SP’s in extensively, so it's important that they are comfortable with this concept.

Would you have any concerns being filmed/recorded while participating in a simulation?

A media consent form would have to be signed by the SP, and generally a higher rate is paid. The video might be reviewed by other students who might critic the session, placed on a web page or kept in case a student disputes their mark in an assessment.

Do you have any scars or have you had any broken bones etc. in the past?

If the SP had an appendix scar, they might not be suitable for a scenario where they have appendices for example. Some injuries or broken bones might need to be written into past history in case studies when dealing students. For example; disciplines such as physiotherapy or occupational therapy

The SP selection process has quite a few steps, including training. What is your availability to complete the next step if you are selected?

Important to know if they would like to pursue the opportunity further after finding out more about the program.

Being a Simulated Patient takes energy, memorization, discipline, concentration, excellent communication skills, and a high level of comfort with your own health. Please describe why you would be a good SP?

Great question to ask to understand their motives and learn more about them.


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