Simulated particpiants

Who are simulated participants?

Simulated Participants (SPs) is a collective term that is used to refer to Simulated Patients and/or Confederates in the Health Care setting and Simulated Clients in Community and Social Services where they assist with the training and evaluation of learners. An SP is a person who has been coached to accurately and consistently recreate a scenario of a real person in a range of contexts. There are two main types of live simulators. First, simulated (standardized) patients are individuals trained to portray a patient and also to provide feedback to trainees on their performance. Often, simulated patients are recruited from the community and may not necessarily have professional acting experience. Second, confederates are individuals who commonly portray the role of healthcare professionals (Nestel et al, 2017, Simulated participant methodologies: Maintaining humanism in practice).

Simulated Participants provide valuable opportunities for learners to practice skills in an environment that is both safe and supportive to the learning process. By practicing their skills with SPs, learners have the opportunity to develop and refine their interpersonal skills and professionalism in a safe environment without putting real patients or clients at risk.

Professional development

NHET-Sim Workshops and E-Learning Modules

This  S5 - Simulated patient methodology introduces the concept of simulated patient (SP) methodology. SPs are real people trained to portray patients and to give feedback to learners on their interactions. That is, SPs help to provide a 'patient' and 'learner' safe environment in which to rehearse 'patient-centredness' and other critical facets of healthcare professionalism.

The module provides participants with an opportunity to explore key concepts such as the scope of practice of SPs, the preparation of SPs for role portrayal and practicalities of the method. Participants will develop an SP role and those attending the workshop enact the role portrayal training approach.

Simulated Patient Network (SPN)

The Simulated Patient Network (SPN) website contains thirteen modules on various aspects of SP methodology.

VSA workshops

VSA offers the following workshops:

  1. Writing a simulation scenario and simulated patient script for Health Care professionals
  2. Writing a simulation scenario and simulated client script for Community Services professionals

Contact the VSA Executive Officer at if you would like to run these workshops in your organisation.

Alternatively, they may be offered on our regular calendar of events.

Resources and links

Association of Standardised Patient Educators

Association of Standardised Patient Educators (ASPE) is the international organisation for professionals in the field of simulated and standardised patient methodology.

Simulated Patient Network (SPN)

Simulated Patient Network (SPN) was previously, Victorian Simulated Patient Network (VSPN). The SPN aims to provide individuals interested in simulated patient (SP) practice with a network to share with and from each other.

Virtual Simulated Patient Resources (VSPR)

Virtual Simulated Patient Resources (VSPR) is designed for undergraduate health professional students to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes related to non-technical skills in health care and patient care encounters.

Health Education Australia Limited (HEAL)

Health Education Australia Limited (HEAL) is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a service for educators to hire trained Simulated Patient’s (SP’s) to suit all education encounters (including high stakes assessment). HEAL also provides innovative education programs for all health professionals, both nationally and internationally, that are designed to improve healthcare outcomes.

Cultural Respect Encompassing Simulation Training (CREST)

Cultural Respect Encompassing Simulation Training (CREST) is a learning program that uses simulation to provide health professional students and practitioners with strategies to communicate sensitively with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) patients.

Standards of Practice when working with SP's

Standards of Practice when working with SP's developed by the Association of Standardised Patient Educators (ASPE).


SIMED is a La Trobe University portal providing simulated patient resources.

Simulated Patient Methodology; Theory, Evidence and Practice

Simulated Patient Methodology; Theory, Evidence and Practice Debra Nestel, D. and Bearman, M. (2014)

The simulated patient handbook: a comprehensive guide for facilitators and simulated patients

For simulated participants

In development

This content is a work in progress.

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