Bill Leddy, a lecturer at the U of A’s Faculty of Nursing, was looking to add a bit of kick to his mental health courses. “We wanted a more realistic communication lab experience. Something that went beyond role-playing in a classroom,” he says.
When Leddy began working with HSERC’s Standardized Patients Program, he quickly realized that he had taken his instruction to a new level. “From the very first evaluation by students, we heard, ‘This is a cool and a powerful way to learn.’ The realism, the drama, the actual feel of being in the situation, and the feedback from the actor—there’s no way to deliver that experience in a normal lecture.”
Leddy was able to craft simulations that matched his specific needs. “We have four mental health/psychiatric scenarios set up, and each student must function as a mental health nurse in two of them.” He says the SP Program can be shaped to benefit a wide range of educators. “If your students are well prepared, but need to test and refine their skills in a practice session offering verisimilitude, this is exactly what you need.”