Background The last two decades have witnessed initiatives aimed at improving the care of older people, including educating nurses so that they are equipped with the skills to care for older people with frailty and complex multimorbidities. It has been suggested that involvement of older service users in nurse education can facilitate the development of nurses’ caring skills by promoting understanding of the reality of older people’s situations. One method of involving older service users is standardised patient simulation (SPS). While some recent studies have acknowledged the importance of considering standardised patients’ experiences and perceptions of simulation, to date few have focused specifically on the experiences of older people.
Methods In this qualitative study, data were collected via focus groups, whereby older people were invited to discuss their views and experiences of involvement in SPS. Data were analysed using open coding.
Findings Four themes emerged from the data, demonstrating that involving older people in SPS may be beneficial for their well-being. The four themes were: ‘using personal experiences to improve care’, ‘having a sense of purpose’, ‘preparation and support for SPS’ and ‘feeling appreciated’.
Discussion While most participants reported that they enjoyed the SPS activities, engagement appeared to have had a much deeper significance for them. Many participants’ responses suggested that involvement assisted them to ‘make sense’ of their experiences of illness and healthcare, and also gave a sense of purpose, of belonging and of being valued.
Conclusion Findings support the need for nurse educators to consider developing SPS programmes that involve older people.
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Contributors JT and ST drafted the paper and AH, GC and BH critically reviewed the paper and suggested revisions.
Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval Faculty of Health and Life Sciences Ethics Committee, Northumbria University.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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