Publication Details

Ashcroft, E., Potter, I. & Bushnell, J. (2011). Evolution of reciprical teaching and learning: medical students and simulated patients training in partnership. Fourth International Clinical Skills Conference (pp. 31-31). Prato, Italy:


Training simulated patients effectively is vital for the success of the patient volunteer programme in the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Wollongong. Globally, simulated patients play an essential role in contemporary medical education. Yet, there is a significant gap in the research literature regarding their training and the impact of their feedback on student learning. In 2010, our 2nd and 3rd year medical students replicated realistic interview situations as part of our simulated patient training. This intervention allowed patient volunteers to give feedback but also to receive feedback on their feedback giving skills from students. During these interactions, a strong sense of reciprocal teaching and learning between the incumbent simulated patients and the participating students emerged. Based on these observations, we conducted focus group interviews with both parties. Participants reported an enriched educational experience and better understanding of each other's role in the teaching relationship. Volunteers commented that the approach has given them a better comprehension of the expectations placed upon them by students. Students appreciated the opportunity to support volunteers in what they see as a vital aspect of their medical training.