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Volunteer Simulated Patients

Volunteer Simulated Patient

Get involved as a Volunteer Simulated Patient

JCU medical students acquire extensive skills and unique clinical practice opportunities, equipping them to be work-ready health professionals passionate about the health of our communities. From the first year of their degree, our medical students are exposed to simulated and authentic clinical experiences in the classroom and across multiple health care settings.

The clinical skills curriculum within the MBBS program provides students with the ability to learn and practice a wide range of clinical skills in a safe teaching and learning environment. As part of this, JCU recruits Volunteer Simulated Patients (VSP) to role play cases and interact with students to develop students' clinical skills, knowledge and patient management. Volunteers are called to act out a wide range of medical cases, everything from abdominal pains to lung cancer.

VSPs provide students with the opportunity to interact with people of all ages, genders, backgrounds, health conditions and life experiences. This interaction gives JCU students an authentic, ‘real world’ clinical skills learning experience which will prepare them for their future careers. It also provides volunteers with an opportunity to contribute to the education of our future doctors while getting active and social in their local community.

“Having real people from the community come in to help the students practice clinical skills, such as history taking and examinations, is an extremely valuable learning experience. The students really appreciate the volunteers’ time and their feedback.”

Prof Sarah Larkins, JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry Dean

“It’s such a tremendous privilege to be part of a medical student’s journey. One of the beautiful things about volunteering with JCU is that you really get the sense you are very highly respected. You’re treated like a VIP and you can feel that you’re contributing to something important. And I would add, it’s such a therapy for retirees!”

Ivor Edwards, Volunteer simulated patient since 2019.

Read more about why our volunteers and students love the Volunteer Simulated Patient program.

Become a Volunteer Simulated Patient

Please fill out your contact details below to express your interest in becoming a Volunteer Simulated Patient.

Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

VSPs undertake a wide variety of roles, depending on individual preferences and comfort levels. At no time is there an expectation to perform, demonstrate or assist in an activity that would breach your comfort, safety or personal preferences.

Depending on the teaching and learning needs of the students as well as the skill/s being taught or assessed, you might be participating in:

  • History Taking sessions which require individuals to role play a certain patient or clinical presentation.
  • Providing essential feedback to the students specifically about their communication style and professional approach.
  • Physical examination sessions which includes exposing part/s of the body such as chest, shoulder, knee abdomen – for students to examine. Please note: all examinations are non-invasive and are conducted with respect to maintaining privacy and dignity at all times.
  • Procedural workshops (such as taking vital signs; and performing an ECG)

As a VSP, your name, identification, personal details and any health information (written or spoken) is strictly confidential and does not circulate beyond the teaching session.

No formal education is required to become a VSP. The ability to role play is desirable but not essential.

There is also NO requirement to hold/obtain a Blue Card.

You will need two referees as part of your VSP application. At least one of your referees must be a non-family member. An authorised JCU representative may contact via phone the two people with a short list of questions.

Following the completion of a VSP application, you will be notified of the outcome via email. VSP training is held annually.  All VSPs, both new and existing, will receive an invitation to attend a training session, typically held in February each year. Training is conducted by JCU Clinical Skills Unit staff members on relevant and contemporary topics.

For more information about the Volunteer Simulated Patient program or to register as a volunteer , please contact