Background Simulated Patients (SP) are volunteers, actors or people trained to portray the role of a patient or relative in healthcare education.1 This project has developed, piloted and evaluated a bespoke Simulated Patient Train-The-Trainer programme (SP3T) for Simulation Trainers in the North West of England.
Methodology A sequential exploratory mixed methods design was selected to provide comprehensive analysis of the SP3T programme.
Results Firstly, the evidence base was explored to develop a regional questionnaire-based survey. A regional survey was undertaken with 89 responses received from participants working within 24 different organisations (including 4 HEIs, 20 NHS Trusts and 31 separate departments). 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. Eighteen SP Trainers have completed the e-learning and workshop programme as well as the post-workshop and impact evaluations. 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 ‘Simulated Patient Common Framework’.2
Conclusions 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 region has been achieved through a regional survey and four different evaluations of the pilot SP3T programme. The Simulated Patient Common Framework provides a reference point to guide the involvement of SPs within healthcare education. The Simulated Patient Common Framework and associated SP3T programme was designed to empower simulation trainers to effectively work with SPs in education and training, and ultimately lead to improvements in patient safety. It is anticipated that this programme will encourage simulation trainers to maximise the potential of embedding SPs in their practice.
Nestel D, Bearman M. Chapter 1: Introduction to simulated patient methodology. In: Nestel D, Bearman M, eds. Simulated patient methodology: theory, evidence and practice. West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 2015: 1–4
Gough S, Greene L, Nestel D, Hellaby M, MacKinnon R, Natali A, Roberts S, Tuttle N, Webster B. Simulated patients: a standardised, quality assured approach to training and implementation. Final Project Report. Manchester: Health Education North West, 2015
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