Publication Details

Ashcroft, E., Potter, I. & Bushnell, J. (2011). Why do medical students volunteer to train simulated patients? A qualitative evaluation of motivations and incentives. Fourth International Clinical Skills Conference (pp. 31-31).


The willingness to actively volunteer is an expected trait of medical students. Their compliance to participate in teaching and learning interventions is well described in the medical education literature The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether medical students' motivations to volunteer are congruent with motivational drives of other community members. We recruited eighteen (18) medical students, who contributed to the 2010 patient volunteer training as interview partners. One focus of their involvement was to develop feedback skills in newly recruited simulated patients. Ten (10) of these students participated in our audio-recorded focus group interviews. A thematic analysis of the transcripts revealed three main themes emerging from the data. The main motives for participating are primarily reciprocity, gaining an additional opportunity for own skill development and the associated social interaction with simulated patients and peers. The supply of food and refreshments constituted a strong incentive, whilst unsuitable timing of the training session presented the major barrier. Medical students are motivated to be involved in the training of simulated patients provided timetabling of the activity recognises their needs and refreshments are provided.