Session G - Learning by doing - Preparing drama students for simulating patient and carers
Learning By Doing: Preparing Drama
Students for Simulating Patients and Carers.
Debbie Lewis Senior Lecturer
Adam Skerrett Professional Role Player
Birmingham School of Acting
Role Player Training
Practically providing actors for teaching
purposes can be expensive and simulated
patients and carers are often lay persons, staff
or other students.
Covering two hours of communication skills
training for the BSc (Hons.) first year students
requires actors for 86 hours.
BSA – A Healthy Collaboration
• In-house pilot funding paid the costs of
training seven role players in total.
• Three 3rd year students from BSA and four
existing role players [clinical staff] already
utilised on Learning Disabilities programme.
• Two day training programme to standardise
practice and provide a common level of
training for all.
• Why do we need simulators in healthcare education?
• What communication skills are we trying to promote in healthcare?
• What is the professional role player’s job?
• Preparing for a role play – Ground rules/scenario demonstration/reviewing
• Giving feedback – using Pendleton’s Rules, rewarding the good - challenging the
• Role play demonstration - Observing feedback
• Practice time using pre-written scenarios
• Practice time using scenarios – focusing on more difficult scenarios
• Playing level - adjusting role play to meet students educational needs and
• Flexibility and improvisation - how this might work in practice
• Taking care of self
What went well?
• There was a common language regarding
communication skills e.g. awareness of body
language, responding to cues and linguistical
• Drama students are used to giving and receiving
feedback on performance.
• Drama students are flexible and can move from one
scenario to another quickly.
• They lack barriers created healthcare professionals.
Training Programme Evaluation
• All participants ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ the programme
met it’s learning outcomes.
“This was a very interesting module and although when I first
participated in the training I felt completely clueless, I am now
adequately confident that I can complete the role successfully”.
“Excellent. Very informative, interesting and a unique project I
look forward to doing more work”.
What could be improved?
• “Don’t be scared to help us by outlining the
symptoms of different illnesses. Don’t assume
we will know enough to portray an illness
• “…have more awareness given on what
knowledge the student nurses have and
details they might ask about medication/other
Issues we need to overcome
• First year - Four 3rd Year BA students
• Second year – Seven students from the BA Applied Performance
[Community and Education] plus one existing Faculty role-player
• Third year – Integrated at a Modular level [in Nov. 2013]
Students of drama:
• Are busy! – 9 to 5 working commitment
• And move on
• There is 50% drop out rate from training to the class room sessions
• Coordination is needed with some flexibility
• There are payment issues
Is the future ‘Orange’?
Green for go?:
• Further integrate role player training into BSA degree
• OpportUNITY Student Engagement – students will be
paid, job description created etc.
• This year, subject to the boundaries of our HEA
Collaborative Grant, the above may be supplemented
by two Faculty role players.
• Two hospices have expressed an interest in using our
actors in their courses this year.
• Longer Term – BSA are creating a Graduate School run
by the drama students [a SAP project].
LEWIS D., O’BOYLE-DUGGAN M., CHAPMAN J., DEE P., SELLNER
K., GORMAN S. (2013) ‘Putting Words into Action Project’: using
role play in skills training. B J Nurs. Vol. 22 (11): 638-644.