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Standardized Patients (SPs), Standardized Clients (SCs) or Roleplay Actors are trained individuals who a required to simulate a scenario for the purpose of training or testing. Their job is to accurately deliver a realistic affect, listen and respond to prompts accordingly and guide the learner through a timed encounter that tests their skills and abilities. They are also trained to give accurate feedback based on the perspective of the character they are portraying. This provides learners with a safe opportunity in an environment to Roleplay specific situations and scenarios that challenge them.
A Standardized Patient Program is a fundamental resource for curriculum. It provides a unique and optimal environment to learn, because it is risk-free and controllable. Students have the ability to explore techniques without causing harm, while SPs can be 'fast-forwarded', 'rewound', 'paused' or 'repeated' to various points of a simulation.
Goals and objectives of teaching with SPs include
learning, developing and strengthening skills in:
•Interpretation of findings
•Patient-centered approach to Doctor/Patient interaction
•Compassion and empathy
Our diverse roster of experienced Simulation Actors offers you a wide selection to build your case around depending on the demographic that you wish your students/staff to interact with.
Ways in which Roleplay Actors are used:
• Live Simulation- timed scenarios in training and testing using Actors to portray Standardized Patients/Clients, Healthcare Providers and even Family members.
• Hybrid Simulation- employing the use of simulated props, tools, makeup/moulage and high fidelity mannekins and other emerging accessories to improve the realism in a scenario and add additional challenges for learners.
• Video training- the use of actors to portray Patients/HCPs in Training videos, E-Learning modules, Interactive Games and Virtual/Augmented Reality training.
Standardized patients(or Clients) provide a broad range of scenarios to simulate. These scenarios range from psycho-social issues, such as abuse, to physical conditions. Standardized patients are also used as Physical Exam Models strictly for clinical skills practice. Our SPs are also trained on how to provide effective feedback to learners, from a patient’s perspective. In many cases there will be a group of Individuals recruited to play the same role to accommodate large groups of learners; for this they are all trained in a Standardized manner, so that each learner receives the same experience to ensure accuracy and fairness.
Standardized patients can also be used for assessment and evaluation (labs, workshops, OSCEs, etc) and is the most commonly used testing method for licensing examinations in Healthcare throughout the world. Most new Educational Institutions will build a Simulation Centre to be integrated into their Health Science Program for training and testing.
Confederates are experienced Healthcare professionals (Physician, Nurse, Respiratory therapist, Paramedic, etc) who are hired and act as team members during a simulation activity. They can provide the professional realism that challenges and teaches the learner. SPs can also serve as a "confederate" in a simulation to perform the roles of other clinicians within the care team. They often undergo special training, within a specific discipline or medical practice.
One of the most the current methods of Roleplay is Interprofessional scenarios, that are written to give opportunities for Healthcare students working in different, yet complimenting fields of practice. By collecting researching and collecting data, we can determine different ways in which certain Healthcare providers can support each other on the job and find ways to communicate and cooperate through day to day challenges. This can then be developed into workshops to give learners and idea of what they may encounter in the workplace.
For teaching future healthcare professionals how to perform intimate examinations, a specially trained Teaching Associate may be used. Intimate examinations include breast and pelvic examination on females and urogenital, prostate and rectal examination on males. Such teaching associates are known by various names. A female associate may be called Gynecological Teaching Associate (GTA) or a Clinical Teaching Associate (CTA), while the male equivalent might be called a Male Urogenital (or Urological) Teaching Associate (MUTA) or a Male Clinical Teaching Associate (MCTA).
Standardized patients can also be used in combination with High-Fidelity Simulations in order to enhance realism or learning objectives of a scenario. When more than one type of simulators are used in simulation, then it is called hybrid simulation. The common one is to combine one manikin with one standardized patient, in order to increase the realism of simulated scenarios and add additional challenges for learners. The standardized Patient may portray a family member or anyone else associated with the patient (manikin). Depending on the educational objectives, the simulated family member can be sad, anxious, angry, etc. They may also act as the “voice” of the mannequin to add a more realistic effect and offer a better communication experience for the learner. Other methods include the use of wearable prosthetics (injectable arm), Makeup and Moulage for wounds and injuries and simulation tools for diagnostics (ie-Simulation Stethoscope).
The use of actors to portray Patients, Clients, Healthcare Providers and more in Training videos, E-Learning modules and Interactive Games is a growing demand. In addition to the challenges of having to work from home or remotely, many learning opportunities are no longer happening onsite and among groups of people. We are moving towards interactions that take place online with learners through Video Conferencing and with the growing demand for Telehealth services and virtual counseling, the interactions themselves offer an accurate portrayal. Platforms like Zoom and Jitsi are changing the way we interact one on one and with groups of people in a remote setting. Everything from having a quality webcam and microphone, to a strong internet connection and good lighting with well organized background are now standard for the virtual world we live in.
We can film video segments remotely and integrate them into interactive modules that offer choices, cause & effect outcomes and most importantly, a greater longevity of use. Other platforms can also introduce 360 degree filmed scenerios where the user can move the POV around or even immerse themselves through the use of a VR headset, to allow a more dynamic learning environment while expanding the learner's situational awareness.
Interactive Escape Rooms and Video games are also emerging as novel ways to entice and engage learners. As we move towards a new paradigm, we look forward to the creative challenges that will help students move forward in their learning objectives.