Using Simulated Patients to Enhance Basic Life Support Training for Allied Health Students

Mrs Jodi Ullrich1, Mrs Kathryn Fitzgerald1

1Wa Centre For Rural Health, Geraldton, Australia


The WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) offers rural clinical placements for Allied Health students. As part of orientation, students complete basic life support (BLS) certification.
Traditional BLS training includes assessment of theory followed by practice sessions on a half torso mannequins
While effective for teaching technical skills, the mannequins are unable to provide feedback such as prior to collapse such as body language or explanation of symptoms such as chest pain, inability to breathe and also verbal or painful response when assessing the response of the casualty- all aspects that are critical to the management of a life threatening event.
To create this feedback and add to the BLS program WACRH has incorporated scenarios using simulated patients. Simulated patients (SP) are individuals that are trained to portray a real person with the appropriate signs and symptoms of a deteriorating patient in a situation relevant to the students’ clinical practice. The student needs to respond not just to the patient’s condition but to the environment including the appropriate means of calling for help in the different settings health professional can work.

The SP adds an authenticity to the students’ learning as during the scenario they must interact, communicate and develop a relationship before reacting and recognising the need to apply the newly learnt skill of basic life support.

The feedback from the students regarding the addition of the SP is that it is more realistic as it enables them to see how to react in a real clinical situation.


Jodi Ullrich has in worked rural and remote areas as a Registered Nurse for 15 years. She has passion for working with children and providing health professional education mainly in the area of simulation based training programs. She currently works as the Simulation Educator for the WA Centre for Rural health based in the Midwest region of Western Australia

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