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Become a Simulated Patient

Members of the public are required to act as patients and role-players for student training, examination and selection.

To apply, please complete the form linked below. Applications received will go forward for selection/interview in April and November each year.

Application form



  • What is a simulated patient?

A Simulated Patient (SP) is sometimes referred to as a standardised patient or patient actor. The SP will play the role of a patient interacting with one of our medical students during a teaching or examination activity.  An SP will also role-play during interviews for selection to the medical course.

  • Who can be a simulated patient?

Anyone who is willing to make a contribution to the education of undergraduate medical students can be a simulated patient. SPs should have good communication skills, and be patient with those who are learning new skills.  Current students of QUB are not eligible to apply.

  • What training is involved?

There is initial training for all newly recruited SPs. Specific training is given for each role-play or activity that SPs are asked to perform. During these specific training sessions, there will be opportunities to ask questions and practise role-playing. Additional ad hoc training may be given.

  •  What is expected of SPs?

We use simulated patients for selecting potential students, for teaching and in professional university examinations called Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs).

It is vital, that any role-plays that are carried out, are kept confidential. All paperwork must be returned at the end of each session and no information relating to the role-plays can be passed to any student or anyone outside the Medical School at Queen’s.

SPs are expected to maintain an appropriate level of personal hygiene. Attire depends on the skill being examined and this will be discussed during specific training sessions. Male SPs should be willing to expose chest, spine, limbs and abdomen. Female SPs should be willing to expose limbs, neck and abdomen. SPs are usually told when being booked for teaching activities, what examination they will be taking part in.

  • What preparation is required for a role-play/activity 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 selection, 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 receive payment?

Yes. SPs are paid at the rate of £10 per hour. A minimum of £20 will be paid on occasions where SPs are required for under 2 hours. 

Recruitment normally takes place twice per year, in November and April.