Simulated Patients: A standardised, quality assured approach to training and implementation

Suzanne Gough, Leah Greene, Debra Nestel, Mark Hellaby, Ralph MacKinnon, Ann Natali, Stewart Roberts, Neil Tuttle, Brian Webster-Henderson

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearchpeer-review


The aim of this project is to improve knowledge, awareness and best practice in relation to embedding SPs within simulation-based education or workforce development training programmes in the UK. The Simulated Patient Train The Trainer (SP3T) programme features a pre-requisite e-learning course followed by an interactive, evidence based workshop.

Executive Summary

This project has developed, piloted and evaluated a bespoke Simulated Patient Train-The-Trainer (SP3T) programme for Simulation Trainers in the North West of England. To achieve the overall aim, this project utilised a sequential exploratory mixed methods design, combining quantitative and qualitative data for comprehensive analysis. Firstly, the evidence base was explored to develop a regional
questionnaire-based survey and later develop course resources. A regional survey was undertaken with 89 responses gained from 89 participants (working within 24 different organisations including 4 HEIs and 20 NHS Trusts and 31 separate departments). A needs analysis was conducted to establish capacity and demand (see section 3.1).

The overall aim of improving knowledge, awareness and best practice in relation to incorporating SPs within simulation-based education (SBE) or workforce development training programmes in the North West of England, UK has been achieved through a regional survey and four different evaluations of the pilot SP3T programme. The findings from a review of the evidence and survey were used to develop the bespoke standardised, evidence-based SP3T programme. The programme consists of a pre-requisite e-learning course and interactive workshop.

Two pilot courses were delivered in February 2015. The evaluation of the e-learning and workshop components is presented in sections 3.3. The final SP3T programme resources include an e-learning course (Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) layout map, 5 e-learning packages, 2 Moodle books, videos and images, e-learning workbook and SP3T e-learning certificate of completion) and SP3T workshop
resources (SP role templates. SP feedback templates, workshop course outline. PowerPoint learning and teaching resources, staff briefs including instructions for practical demonstrations and SP3T workshop certificates of participant attendance and Trainer facilitation) (section 3.2.1 and figure 3). All of the resources have been provided to the North West Simulation Education Network (NWSEN) and are
currently housed on their (Moodle) VLE. Two additional e-learning Moodle books were developed following the pilot study feedback relating to access issues on NHS computers.

Eighteen SP trainers have now fully completed the SP3T e-learning and workshop programme. Feedback from the 18 participants (from 16 different organisations across the North West of England) and 5 SPs has been incorporated to further develop the SP3T course resources and SP common framework (section 4.1). The SP common framework (section 4.1) and associated SP3T programme (section
3.2.1) has been designed to empower simulation trainers to effectively work with SPs in education and training, and ultimately lead to improvements in patient safety. The Simulated Patient Common Framework now allows simulation providers and trainers with a reference point from which to guide their work with SPs. This, in turn, should encourage simulation trainers to maximise the potential of embedding SPs in their practice.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherHealth Education North West
Number of pages113
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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