Learning with Simulated Patients


Image of nursing students learning with a simulated participant




Simulated participants are used in most of the healthcare professions programs offered at the MGH Institute.

SP roles and activities for each program may include:

  • History-Taking Assessment
    • SPs are provided with a script and engage in an interview with a student learner based on the scripted case.
  • Physical-Exam Skills
    • Students practice and demonstrate physical exam skills such as listening to heart and lungs, taking blood pressure, and performing range of motion and manual muscle testing on SPs.
  • Patient Communication Skill
    • Students learn to engage in open dialogue with SPs in a variety of scenarios from conflict resolution to breaking bad news to motivational interviewing.
  • Use of spoken and sign-language interpreters
    • SPs with the ability to converse in languages other than English interact with student learners through an interpreter in a simulation setting.
  • Evaluation of the elder patient
    • Senior SPs interact with students in simulation scenarios that center around healthcare concerns specific to elderly population.
  • Working with children/adolescent patients and parents
    • Students engage in simulation scenarios focused on the pediatric population, with SPs playing the role of either the parent or the child.
  • Working with patients with disabilities
    • Students interact in the history and physical examination of patients with disabilities in a controlled environment.
  • Working with the LGBTQ Community
    • Students interact with SPs in history and physical exam with the focus on meeting the healthcare needs of patients within the LGBTQ community
  • OB/GYN and GU Exam Skills
    • Specially trained SPs participate in pelvic, genitourinary, rectal and breast exams with students under the supervision of faculty.
      • (For more detail on the MGH IHP Gynecological Teaching Associate and Male Genitourinary Teaching Associate programs please contact us)

Such a wide variety of clinical and communications skills development require that SPs working with the MGH Institute be highly trained and competent members of the education team.

Learn more about preparing to be an SP.