Engaging young people as simulated patients: a qualitative description of health professional educators' perspectives

Gamble, Andree, Bearman, Margaret and Nestel, Debra 2021, Engaging young people as simulated patients: a qualitative description of health professional educators' perspectives, BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning, pp. 1-7, doi: 10.1136/bmjstel-2020-000807.

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Title Engaging young people as simulated patients: a qualitative description of health professional educators' perspectives
Author(s) Gamble, Andree
Bearman, MargaretORCID iD for Bearman, Margaret orcid.org/0000-0002-6862-9871
Nestel, Debra
Journal name BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2021-02-08
ISSN 2056-6697
Summary Background Real patients in clinical placements are important for learning and may well be the ‘gold standard’. However, simulated patients (SPs) are a viable alternative in the absence of this opportunity. While adult SPs contribute to health professions education, child and adolescent simulated patients (CASPs) are less common. This research aims to explore the perspectives of healthcare educators regarding the engagement of young SPs, specifically the identification of barriers and enablers to involving CASPs. Methods We used an interpretive paradigm of qualitative description. Thirteen interviewees, all educators involved in SP programmes, participated in semistructured interviews. Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using an inductive thematic approach. Findings Not all participants saw value in engaging CASPs. A number of barriers and enablers to involving them were acknowledged in six themes: challenges and concerns; logistical barriers; benefits of CASPs; overcoming challenges; an ethical minefield; and child safety. Opinions differed with respect to feasibility and necessity for involving CASPs, particularly in the hospital setting where real patients are accessible. All participants articulated the critical importance of ensuring adequate support and adherence to ethical principles if CASPs were involved. Conclusions The involvement of CASPs in health professions education is a divisive issue. CASPs’ ability to provide a realistic option for supporting learning is recognised yet perhaps not wholly perceived as a feasible alternative to real patients. Their engagement raises critical ethical, practical, logistical and financial challenges.
Language eng
DOI 10.1136/bmjstel-2020-000807
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 130209 Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30148624

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