Simulated Patient Programme

Would you help us to train tomorrow’s doctors?


Image of the vocational studies posterThe University of Glasgow Medical School has a Simulated Patient Programme and is looking for members of the public as ‘simulated patients’ as well as professional actors.

By working with volunteer patients, medical students can develop their communication and examination skills, and become tomorrow’s first class doctors.

Volunteer Patients

How do I know if I am suitable to be a simulated patient?

You don’t need any experience or any medical problem. We are looking for people from all walks of life and all ages.

Why do we need simulated patients?

Using simulated patients is an excellent way of teaching medical students to communicate and to understand the concerns of patients.

Will I receive any training?

Yes, you will be invited to attend a one-day training session. After this you will ‘shadow’ an experienced simulated patient until you feel confident to be involved yourself.  

What will I be expected to do?

You will work with small groups of students and a tutor to learn about a specific medical problem using a technique called ‘role-playing’.

Some volunteers also work with students who are practising non-invasive examination skills, such as Blood Pressure Recording. You can choose whether you would like to participate in either role-playing or examination classes, or both.

There are no needles or medicines, and you will always be supervised by a medical professional. 

What is ‘role-playing’?

A role-play is where you are given a short script containing information about a medical condition - for example a sore back or a headache – and the student asks you questions about your medical history and how the condition is affecting you. Later, you give the students feedback on how they performed.

What benefits are there for me?

You will have the satisfaction of knowing you are making an important contribution to training tomorrow’s doctors. Our simulated patients enjoy the interaction in the classroom, and find it an interesting experience. They also feel their own confidence is boosted as they learn new skills such as how to give feedback.

Is there any payment?

You will receive travel expenses. We will also provide tea, coffee and a lunch in our cafe.

How often will my help be required?

Most volunteers participate in 4-6 classes a year. The number of times you take part will depend on your availability and on what is being taught in the Medical School. You can also choose to get involved in the important end of year exams.

Can I opt-out of any class?

You are under no obligation to attend any class, and can opt-out without explanation. You will never be expected to do something you are uncomfortable with.

How can I find out more?

If you would like to discuss becoming a Simulated Patient, or have any questions about the programme, please contact:

Simulated Patient Co-ordinator
Wolfson Medical School
University Avenue
University of Glasgow
G12 8QQ

Telephone: 0141 330 8018

By volunteering you help us to train high quality doctors in a degree programme that has a worldwide reputation.


Simulated Patients - Professional Actors

Simulated Patients - Professional Actors

The Undergraduate Medical School at the University of Glasgow works with professional actors (Simulated Patients) in the delivery of Communication Skills teaching sessions and role play in clinical examinations.

Communication Skills teaching sessions involve a tutor and small group of students (8-10), in normally in Year 3 of the 5 year MBChB programme. Simulated Patients are booked by session, and have advance sight of a roleplay scenario which will cover areas such as delivering bad news, ethical dilemmas and other challenging communications.

Teaching sessions are delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays (am and pm) over the academic session (September until January) and are normally held at the Wolfson Medical School Building (University Avenue).

Undergraduate Medical Students participate in clinical assessments (known as OSCEs) several times throughout their MBChB studies. These assessments often include roleplay with Simulated Patients in a timed examination setting. To ensure consistency of delivery, Simulated Patients participate in mandatory briefing sessions prior to assessments with Clinical Examination Leads (usually via Zoom).  OSCEs take place on the main University campus and at hospital sites around Glasgow.

To register your interest as a Simulated Patient, please submit a CV/Spotlight to the School’s Simulated Patient Co-ordinator ( along with details of a referee who can comment on your role playing experience. The team will be in touch to discuss your application and you will be asked to complete Supplier and GDPR forms.  We also require any new simulated patients to undertake an online equality and diversity module/attend relevant SP training.

Payment rates are as follows:

Reserve fee (0-2 hours) - £37.50

Half day teaching session - £75.00

Full day OSCE - £150.00


Reserve Simulated Patients are required to attend a teaching or examinations session to fill any unexpected absence. If required, the Reserve is paid the session rate, and if not, is free to leave once the session is underway and is paid the Reserve rate.

The Wolfson Medical School Building is deemed the Simulated Patient’s place of work, reasonable travel costs are reimbursed to hospital sites only. Travel expenses can be claimed from your home address or the Wolfson Medical School Building (whichever is geographically closest) to the allocated hospital either by public transport (not taxi) or if travelling by car at a rate of 0.45p per mile.   

Simulated Patients are engaged by the University as Suppliers and are responsible for submitting invoices for work undertaken. After a booking has taken place, the University Finance Unit will email Purchase Order details direct to individuals, to enable submission of your invoice. A template invoice is detailed below:


 A example screenshot of an invoice form