Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn


Simulated patients are individuals who are trained to simulate the signs and symptoms of an actual patient which allows a student doctor, nurse or healthcare worker to practice their communication and consultation skills and in some cases physical examination skills. They are also trained to provide feedback to the students, especially in the area of interpersonal communication skills.

Simulated patients act as a key stepping stone between the classroom and the clinic. They allow students practice in a safe environment before they meet 'real' patients in the clinic.

People of any age can apply to become a simulated patient so long as they have some free time, are interested in playing a patient role, and are comfortable giving feedback to students. You do not need any prior training, full training will be provided. We expect simulated patients to have an enthusiastic attitude and reliable nature as well as an interest in helping with the education of future healthcare professionals is beneficial. Initial training involves a number of half-day training sessions and is arranged as is required depending on teaching demands. Simulated patients receive a stipend for each day they are asked to attend as a simulated patient.

The format of teaching session varies depending on the teaching objectives. Most sessions take the format of a doctor-patient consultation where the simulated patient will speak to the doctor/healthcare worker one-on-one. In some sessions the simulated patient will speak to one student for the full consultation and in others the students rotate and each cover part of the consultation process. In some sessions students give each other feedback and in other sessions a tutor supervises and directs the consultation and feedback process.

Although many students are nervous before their first consultation, most students find it a very beneficial form of learning.


Download the Simulation Equipment Catalogue 2018

Download the Simulated Patient Policies and Procedures