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Exploring the Embodied Experience of Simulated Participants in Representing Illness

Oral Presentation 3
Dr Linda Ni Chianain, Dr Jenny Johnston, Prof Gerry Gormley

Exploring the Embodied Experience of Simulated Participants in Representing Illness

Simulated participants are highly valued in healthcare simulation as they play a vital role in training healthcare professionals in patient care. However, their experiences are often overlooked and are treated as instruments exploring the perspective of the learner. Consequently, SPs are frequently objectified, and their voices are inhibited. It is time to acknowledge this and give voice to SPs lived experiences, allowing them to share their insights on embodying the illness in simulation, which is frequently developed by HCPs in the absence of the individual experiencing the illness.

To explore SPs lived experiences of embodying the illness in simulation-based education.

The theoretical frameworks of Merleau-Ponty and Stanislavski provided a useful lens through which to explore the embodied nature of SPs experiences. This is particularly relevant to the experiences of SPs, as their existence is inherently embodied within the simulated environment. While Stanislavski's system of acting is based on the idea that actors should embody their characters to fully immerse themselves in the role. Hermeneutic phenomenology was used as this approach is particularly relevant to understanding the experiences of individuals, as it allows for an exploration of how they make sense of their existence within the simulated environments. Twelve SPs were interviewed from two Universities on the Island of Ireland. Template analysis was used to identify themes, while drawings were used to elicit information and provided a visual representation of the SPs' experience. Personal and public involvement (PPI) has been central to this research as the person with the illness experience is central to healthcare education, although their involvement is frequently absent or tokenistic.

The findings suggest that SPs experience a range of emotions, including satisfaction, frustration, and a sense of detachment from their simulated environment to emotionally invested. Six themes were identified, where SPs undergo various phases of transitioning from being themselves to embodying the person they portray, to leaving that portrayal. The participants must not only communicate the symptoms of the illness but also physically embody the experience of being unwell.

The study provides valuable insights into the challenges of embodying the illness. Embodying the illness is a complex process, as simulation advocates for realism, authenticity, and patient-centric approaches. Further research is needed to develop strategies for enhancing the experiences of SPs where they feel valued, involved, and supported through sufficient training to reflect a person's illness experience and to de-role without residue.