Background/context Issues around standards and quality assurance have been variably addressed in simulation based education. This is particularly true for Simulated Patients. Despite expansion in the complexity of roles undertaken, this group appear to have been neglected in their need for continuing professional development (CPD).
Methodology The current situation with regard to CPD for SPs was explored by a review of the literature and online surveys of both SPs themselves and their educators. There was a focus on the critical elements of CPD i.e. training, feedback, critical reflection and appraisal. The value of portfolios of evidence was also explored.
Results/outcomes 115 survey responses were received from SPs and 16 from SP Educators from a convenience sample across centres in England. The findings from the literature review and the surveys, which will be presented in detail, confirmed the hypothesis that there is limited CPD for SPs at present. The surveys demonstrated that informal reflection by SPs on their performance is commonplace but that little training is given for it. Formal feedback and appraisals are uncommon and portfolios of evidence the exception. Overall, however, both SPs and their educators were very supportive of more formalised CPD, although many were sceptical about the value of portfolios.
Conclusions and recommendations We will consider the resource implications of the introduction of widespread formalised CPD for SPs. We will present a standardised template for the structure of a CPD portfolio, based on previously described domains of SP expertise¹ and the results of the literature review and surveys. We will also postulate reasons for the apparent ambivalence of many SPs and SP Educators to the concept of a portfolio of evidence, despite their enthusiasm for the tenets of CPD.
Coffey F. Accreditation of SPs and SP Educators in the UK – Musings and Update. Abstract ASPE Conference. Nashville, 2011
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