School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences

Simulated Patients

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Become a Simulated Patient

Find out what is involved in being a Simulated Patient (SP) at Queen’s University Belfast. SPs play the role of someone visiting the “doctor”, who is portrayed by a medical student. Recruitment normally takes place twice per year and calls for application will appear on this page.


  • Who can be a simulated patient?

Any healthy individual who is willing to make a contribution to medical and dental education can be a simulated patient. Patients should have good communication skills, and are patient with those who are learning new skills.

  • What training is involved?

There is an initial training for all SPs. Some SPs will be asked to work with students who are practicing a certain skill. Others are used during exams to evaluate how well students have learned skills. During training sessions, there will be opportunities to ask questions, do some role-playing, and critique each others’ performances.

  •  What is expected of SPs?

SPs are expected to maintain an appropriate level of personal hygiene. Attire depends on skill being examined but it is usually advisable to bring t-shirt/shorts with you on the day. Male patients should be willing to expose chest, spine, limbs and abdomen. Female patients should be willing to expose limbs, neck and abdomen. However, SPs are usually told when being booked what teaching or examination they will be taking part in. At times we use simulated patients for professional university examinations called Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs). It is therefore vital that any role plays that are carried out are confidential and not passed on to any students.

  • What preparation is required for a skills session?

Prior to the day check:

  • The time/date/venue
  • Know which skill is being simulated
  • Revise and rehearse skill
  • Identify proper attire for skill

On the day:

  • Notify staff of arrival
  • Inform of any medical problems or symptoms

We require simulated patients to carry out their roles in a highly consistent fashion. This creates equal circumstances for teaching and assessment of students.

  • What is involved in history role play?

When role playing a history – only answer when specifically asked a question, for example, when asked “What problems brought you here today?” state “Chest pain”. Rather than answering “Central Chest pain for the last 3 months”.

  • Is video recording involved?

At times for educational purposes we may video-record a session or place photographs on our website. If you are unhappy about this please inform the staff prior to the session.

  • Will I recieve payment?

Yes. Simulated patients will recieve £40 per session (normally half day) and £10 per hour thereafter.


Recruitment normally takes place twice per year. Calls for applications will appear here, together with relevant information and an application form.