About the Waterloo Regional Simulated Patient Program

Our Simulated Patients (SPs), sometimes also refereed to as "Standardized Patients", come from a variety of backgrounds - medical and/or acting experience are not required - instead, we are looking for unbiased, emotionally mature SPs who are active listeners, reliable, and understand the importance of their contribution to health professions.

Details on the current recruitment process, including the online interest form, are on the following pages - scroll to the bottom of the page and click the "Next" button. 

We are currently accepting online interest forms for future recruitment sessions. We will contact all the individuals who submit on online interest form once the dates for the next recruitment are confirmed (likely in the summer of 2018).

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What is the Waterloo Regional Simulated Patient Program?
The Waterloo Regional Simulated Patient Program (WRSPP) brings two of Canada’s leading educational institutions - McMaster University and the University of Waterloo - together with the goal of meeting the demands of both curricula and providing dynamic new opportunities for inter-professional training and education. The WRSPP is based out of the University of Waterloo’s Health Sciences Campus, located on the corner of King and Victoria Streets in downtown Kitchener, Ontario. The campus is home to McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine’s Waterloo Regional Campus and the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. 

In 2016, we are proud to have supported students with 2,323 Simulated Patient (SP) hours - an average of 35 hours per SP - providing a safe, and controlled environment for our students to learn new skills and be assessed on existing skills.
What are Simulated/Standardized Patients?
A Simulated Patient (SP), sometimes also referred to as a "Standardized Patient", is someone trained to realistically and accurately portray a “real” patients. SPs are thoroughly trained to simulate every aspect of the patient case, from medical history and physical findings to body language and emotional characteristics. During interactions with a learner, SPs respond to questions by the student and, in some cases, undergoes specific physical examinations. Each SP interaction is designed to teach, asses, or reinforce skills in a safe, simulated, real world setting.

SPs provide faculty and learners opportunities to teach, assess, and refine a variety of skills, in a simulated clinical environment. Skills such as patient interviewing, clinical examinations, patient counseling, and clinical interventions. In doing so, SPs are also supporting learners’ development of patient-centric communication and interviewing skills as well as professionalism, compassion, and empathy.

SPs are also trained to provide specific feedback from the patient’s unique perspective, which provides learners the opportunity to refine their knowledge and skills. SPs may also work as physical exam models (PEM). PEMs are required for instruction and practice in physical examination skills only (i.e. there are no specific scenarios in which the simulated patient must portray a specific case).

SPs can be work in a variety of settings, such as interactive teaching sessions, group demonstrations, clinical examinations, and as a part of large group lectures.
What Makes a Good Simulated Patient?
Our Simulated Patients (SPs) come from a variety of backgrounds (actors, home keepers, small business owners, students, nurses, office administrators, retired educators, just to name a few) and range in age from 16 to 90. Regardless of their different backgrounds, they all share the same interest in students and learning and understand the importance of their contribution to health professions. SPs need to have strong communication skills. They also must be able to remember what the learner who interacted with you did and then record it or provide feedback on it.

When recruiting we are looking for unbiased, nonjudgmental, emotionally mature, articulate SPs who are excellent active listeners, reliable, punctual, and are comfortable with their own health and dealing with health professionals. SPs can be work in a variety of settings, such as interactive teaching sessions, group demonstrations, clinical examinations, and as a part of large group lectures.
What Do You Expect from Your Simulated Patients?
From our current SPs, we expect that they:
    Conduct themselves professionally and ethically at all times;
    Work well with and show respect for all students, faculty members and staff;
    Respect the authority and knowledge of other professionals;
    Demonstrate accountability, including appropriate assumption of responsibility and reporting of inappropriate behaviours;
    Have sensitivity and respect for others. Including sensitivity and respect of their beliefs, opinions, sex, gender identity or expression, ancestry, creed, colour, race, culture, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and political or religious belief;
    Inform the WRSPP of any possible professional and/or personal conflicts of interest with faculty, physicians, tutors, students or staff;
    Look continuously for ways to improve the performance of duties;
    Work one booking every six months, at a minimum;
    Consistently portray the role or scenario, as trained;
    Keep all information regarding the case, students and other patients confidential;
    Be willing to be videotaped for educational purposes;
    Protect the privacy of learners by not discussing their performance with anyone except those directly associated with the booking; and
    Protect the security of case materials by not discussing the role or sharing case material with anyone other than the WRSPP or staff/faculty directly associated with the booking.
What Can Your Simulated Patients Expect of the WRSPP?
Our Simulated Patients (SPs) can expect the following from the Waterloo Regional Simulated Patient Program (WRSPP):
    To be treated with respect and consideration by WRSPP staff, users of the WRSPP, healthcare professionals, and students;
    In a physical examination, SPs can expect to be provided with appropriate draping and privacy, bearing in mind that these are some of the skills that SPs are helping the learners to acquire and learners may require our patience and constructive feedback as they learn;
    SPs can refuse a role if they feel uncomfortable with the topic;
    SPs can expect to be informed in advance of the nature and purpose of the simulation;
    SPs can expect timely responses from the WRSPP to their requests/inquiries;
    As part of SPP ongoing quality assurance, SPs can expect to be observed by the SPP while simulating, with or without advanced notice; and
    SPs can expect to get feedback from the WRSPP if their work needs improvement;
What About the Job of Simulated Patient, What is That Like?
The position of a Simulated Patient (SP) is a temporary-casual one-year (renewable) contract position with McMaster University. Since the SP position is that of a casual employee, SPs must be aware that they are unlikely to have any routine or specific schedule. Casual employees also do not have guaranteed hours per day or days of work per week; rather, they are contacted when work is available at which time they may elect to accept or decline the work opportunity for any reason.

There is no set schedule of hours; hours may be booked during the day, evening, or weekend and for differing lengths of time. The frequency of work will depend on the need for a given demographic (age, gender, physical attributes) and cases which have been requested by faculty. The majority of bookings happen weekdays and weekday evenings (5pm on), with very occasional opportunities on the weekend.

As an employee of McMaster University, all SPs must adhere to all Human Resource and Health & Safety Policies including (but not limited to) the McMaster Anti-Discrimination Policy and the McMaster University Workplace Violence Policy (more information at https://fhs.mcmaster.ca/hr)   SPs can expect to get feedback from the WRSPP if their work needs improvement;
For more information on being a Simulated (Standardized) Patient, please check our sister program’s - Centre for Simulation-Based Learning at McMaster University in Hamilton - website http://simulation.mcmaster.ca/spp and/or contact: Aaron Geekie-Sousa, Standardized Patient Trainer WRSPP@McMaster.ca

PRIVACY STATEMENT The Waterloo Regional Simulated Patient Program (WRSPP) takes your privacy seriously. In order for the WRSPP to provide appropriate  Simulated (Standardized) Patients (SP) for requested cases and for the WRSPP to provide administrative/payroll services to SPs, the WRSPP must obtain, store and keep up-to-date specific personal information from SPs. This information may include (but is not limited to): biographical information; contact information (including full mailing address); past or present health issues; physical attributes and scars; banking information; a digital photograph; and proof of eligibility to work in Canada. The information may be stored as physical file and/or in electronic format. Information gathered by the WRSPP will only be used for the purpose for which it was collected and will not be disclosed to anyone outside of the WRSPP (or its administrators) - including external exam contractors - and will not be published or distributed without your written permission or where required by law. Administrators of the WRSPP at the Waterloo Regional Campus include management at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy, McMaster University Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine’s Waterloo Regional Campus, and McMaster University Faculty of Health Science’s Human Resources Department.

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