Clinical Skills Centre

The Centre has consult rooms and hospital beds replicating real clinical settings. It sets the scene for undergraduate first and second year students to learn a variety of clinical skills in a realistic environment. The sessions, which are taught by a clinician tutor, take students through skills such as: taking a medical history, how to examine a patient respectfully and various clinical procedures. A focus of these sessions is on students gaining an understanding of the problem from the patient’s perspective.

Get Involved 

There are different ways to get involved:

  1. Become an on-campus SP volunteer by completing the expression of interest form.
  2. Become an online SP volunteer for our OSPIA program (flexible dates and ongoing) - assist us from home. Please contact Kiran Thwaites to find out more.

Volunteer Simulated Patient Program

The Simulated Patient (SP) Program is an initiative developed by UNSW Medicine which helps develop our junior students into leading doctors of the future. Volunteers involved in the program work with junior medical students in our purpose built clinical skills centre. The focus of interactions is to develop students' communication skills. This includes their ability to initiate and maintain respectful interactions with patients and to develop rapport so that patients feel able to divulge all relevant information during a consultation.

A Simulated Patient (SP)

Volunteering to be a SP provides our young medical students with a fantastic opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. By communicating with people from the community in a safe and supported environment, students start to develop an ability to create rapport and ‘bedside manner’. Training for brand new SPs is offered every February on campus before the university year begins for those able to attend.

How does it work?

You can choose to be an on-campus SP or online SP - or both!

Registered campus SPs are advised of upcoming sessions which generally run from Monday to Friday over a two week period for no more than 2 hours. Sessions are either 12-2pm or 2.30-4.30pm. SPs can choose to do one or more days. Each day they meet different students. We may provide the SP with a scenario in which they can play the role of a patient with a particular medical history. In that case, we work with the SP to find a scenario which suits them best, and which will provide the students with an authentic patient role and situation.

In other sessions, no scenarios are required such as for our Skin Sessions. Make-up artists apply fake skin lesions to our SPs. The medical students practice general consultation skills, describing the skin problem to the patient in easy to understand language. We sometimes request SPs for examination practice only. This is the help students develop confidence in examining a diverse range of people from our community.

We also have once-a-year Mums n' Bubs sessions where pregnant women, mothers with children under 5 years of age are able to chat to Year 2 medical students about their experiences.

Online SPs operate from home and have the flexibility to choose the appointment time. They have a scenario but also get to assess the student's performance at the end of the 15 minute interview.


  1. If I am a campus SP, how long am I there for? Generally 2 hours.
  2. If I volunteer as an online SP, how long is each appointment I make?  Around 30 minutes including assessment time.
  3. Do I get paid? No, but when on campus, refreshments are provided. A light lunch preceeds the 12-2pm session.
  4. Is there parking if I come on campus? Yes, we can issue you with a parking permit.
  5. Are there campus sessions every day? Only weekdays, no weekends. You pick one day which suits you.
  6. Can children take part? Only during the Mums n' bubs sessions. Otherwise you must be over 18 years.
  7. Do I need to be really healthy ? No, non-athletes welcome!
  8. Are there physical exams?  We will advertise when this is required for certain campus sessions.