About the Simulated Participant Program
As a member of the global simulated participant (SP) community of practice, we are a leader in SP methodology. We are dedicated to inspiring lifelong learning, bridging student success at entry-to-practice with continuous professional development through innovative human-centred communication.
- We are dedicated to ethical, transparent and evidence-informed education
- We are committed to inclusive authorship and representation in all simulation activity
- Safety and wellness
- We are committed to preserving and promoting safety equitably for all stakeholders across the healthcare education spectrum
- We embrace the imperative to do no harm by respecting the complexity of communication
- We listen respectfully and respond compassionately to the diverse perspective of patients, colleagues, learners and faculty
- We value all stakeholders as essential contributors to the education process
- We foster partnerships, teamwork, and co-creation through relationship building
Simulated participants (SPs) are individuals who are trained to portray authentic roles to facilitate experiential learning, including patients, clients, health care professionals, and family members (Lewis et al., 2017). They are not ‘used’ as a tool, but rather engaged as a living resource. They are not ‘actors’ (normally associated with entertainment) but highly trained, skilled individuals who provide constructive communication feedback from the perspective of the client or patient, and always with the learner as their central focus.
SPs may be engaged for both formative learning and summative assessment. For the purposes of summative assessment, SPs are typically trained to behave in a highly repeatable or standardized manner in order to give every learner a fair and equal opportunity (Lewis et al., 2017).
Simulated Participants at The Michener Institute of Education at UHN are engaged by a variety of stakeholders, including the Applied Health Science Programs, Continuing Education courses and workshops, and targeted educational sessions developed by UHN clinical departments. Michener SPs are also available as a fee-for-service resource for external stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, professional colleges, and public or private education institutions.
The safety of the learner, faculty and SP are not mutually exclusive, but inextricably connected to the simulation process. Safety considerations are embedded in the physical setting, learning atmosphere and educational methods, all of which foster best practice learner success.
The Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) Standards of Best Practice (SOBP) (Lewis et al., 2017) identifies and embeds safety first in their five underlying values, first in their five domains of best practice where safety is the cornerstone of simulation practice, and key practice principles.
Creating a supportive environment for taking risks, cultivating unconditional positive regard that embodies empathy and respect for learner anxiety, and creating relevant scenarios designed for successful student outcomes are all hallmarks of safe practice. When we consider learner safety we endeavor to ensure that the simulation portrayal is realistic, physically and psychologically safe, and meets all the learning objectives set for each session. This requires a close collaboration between the faculty who conceives and develops the case and the SP trainer who determines training protocols to ensure both learner and SP safety during the simulation process.
Training and applicable preparation of the SP provides further safety for both student and the SP during the simulation process. By reducing emotional and physical safety risks through on-site training, faculty pressure to intervene may be mitigated or alleviated during challenging interactions.
Attention should be paid at all times to the physical and emotional wellbeing of all participants in the simulation. The session must be stopped immediately if an injury or sudden illness occurs.
The Michener SP Program is committed to ASPE Standards of Best Practice (SOBP), which cite the following three distinct principles related to creating a safe work environment: safe work practices, confidentiality, and respect. Specific principles include (Lewis et al., 2017):
- Attention paid to occupational hazards such as allergic substances, exposure to sharps, etc.
- Screen SPs to ensure that they are appropriate for the role – e.g. no conflict of interest, no compromising of their psychological or physical safety
- Allow SPs to opt out of any given activity if they feel it is not appropriate for them to participate
- Brief SPs so they are clear about the guidelines and parameters of a simulation activity
- Provide SPs with strategies to mitigate potential adverse effects of role portrayal and prevent physical injury or fatigue
- Attention paid to the number of rotations, breaks, and physical and psychological challenges inherent to the role
- Provide SPs with adequate information so that they can make informed decisions about participation in work assignments
- Ensure that SPs understand and maintain the principles of confidentiality related to specific simulation events
Simulation is continuously learner-focused. Identification, alignment and disclosure of the learning objectives between learner, faculty and the SP are key facets and contributors to safe practice. This becomes a transparent alliance where physical procedures and psychological considerations are attended to in SP training in order to promote and optimize teaching in role that benefit both the learner in practice and the faculty in briefing and debriefing.
Lewis, K. L., Bohnert, C. A., Gammon, W. L., Holzer, H., Lyman, L., Smith, C., … Gliva-McConvey, G. (2017). The Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) Standards of Best Practice (SOBP). Advances in Simulation, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41077-017-0043-4
Kerry Knickle – Director, Simulated Participant Program
KKnickle@Michener.ca 416-596-3101 x2346
Jordan Holmes – Interim Director, Centre for Learning, Innovation and Simulation
JHolmes@Michener.ca 416-596-3101 x3391
Roseli Melo – Simulation Operations Coordinator
RMelo@Michener.ca 416-596-3101 x3172
Kerri Weir – Simulated Participant Trainer
KWeir@Michener.ca 416-596-3101 x2357
For general inquiries and all booking requests, please email firstname.lastname@example.org