Volunteer Simulated Patient Program

The Volunteer Simulated Patient (SP) Program is an initiative developed by UNSW Medicine which helps develop our junior students into leading doctors of the future.

Should you choose to be involved in the program, you will 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.  Some sessions may involve playing the role of a patient or being examined - or a mixture of the two!

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Contact Details

Health Maintenance: 14-25 August

We will be looking at lifestyle factors which risk health, and what education is needed to promote good health and prevent disease in adulthood.

During the Clinical Skills sessions, students will focus on:
• Developing skills in interviewing patients with gastrointestinal and renal illnesses.
• Developing skills in taking a nutrition and exercise history and questioning patients about alcohol intake. 
• Developing skills in examining the abdomen.
• Exploring the role of doctors as educators and how best to support their patients to make lifestyle  
  changes and appropriate choices.
• The impact of social and cultural factors on lifestyle choices.

The Simulated Patient sessions will utilise scenarios which address one or more of these issues, but no examinations will be expected.

As volunteers, you will be working with mixed groups of Year 1 and Year 2 medical students.  You will be given detailed patient scenarios and students will practice their consultation and communication skills with you by asking about your “complaint”. You will be sent your comprehensive scenario well in advance. You are not expected to memorise every detail but you should feel comfortable embodying the role. The more believable you are as the "patient" the more the student will learn and hopefully attempt to react appropriately to the situation in front of them.  These are short interviews and the students will not be diagnosing your concern.  Rather, they will be practising how to take a history, and learning how to listen and show an appropriate level of empathy and concern.




Because of the large number of students, we run these sessions over 2 weeks. Morning sessions start at 11.30am followed by a light lunch at 1.30pm.  Afternoon sessions commence at 2pm and end at 4pm.  You will need to arrive 15 minutes before either session.  You may choose 1 or more sessions over the 2 weeks and if you prefer, can stay for both morning and afternoon sessions on any given day. Please carefully indicate your availability below. 

Getting Here

The easiest and fastest way to get to the Clinical Skills Centre is generally by public transport. Due to the light rail construction and installation of new traffic lights at the corner of Barker and Botany Sts, traffic congestion has increased around the upper campus. However, if you do require a parking permit we will purchase one for you and post it out.  This needs to happen at least 10 days' in advance of your session to ensure its arrival.


OSPIA (Online Simulated Patient Interaction Assessment) is an innovative new way for students to learn communication skills.  It provides SPs who wish to assist us away from campus the chance to conduct interviews with students. Generally taking place at home, using your own computer, the sessions provide students with another important opportunity to hone these skills.  In this case, we provide training allowing the SP to be patient AND assessor, and the system allows SPs to easily provide feedback to the student on their performance. 

Thank you for your support


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If you require any assistance with this form or have questions please contact Kiran Thwaites: csadmin@unsw.edu.au or phone 02 9385 2550.                                                   

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