How to Recruit Standardized Patients

Simulationist Guide to Recruiting Standardized Patients

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In the dynamic field of nursing and healthcare education, incorporating realistic scenarios is essential for preparing future healthcare professionals. One effective method is the use of standardized patients (SPs) – individuals trained to portray specific medical conditions or scenarios for students to practice their clinical skills. Recruiting the right standardized patients is crucial for creating authentic learning experiences. Megan and Amy bring you a comprehensive guide on how to successfully recruit standardized patients.

Recruiting standardized patients for nursing training requires a strategic and thoughtful approach. By aligning recruitment efforts with program objectives, collaborating with healthcare institutions, engaging the community, and providing adequate training and recognition, educators can enhance the quality of nursing education and better prepare students for real-world healthcare challenges.

How to recruit standardized patients - Avkin Avtone with Standardized patients

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Full Transcript:

00;00;17;05 – 00;00;46;02
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Hello, everybody, and welcome to Simulation Nation. Today we are going to be talking about recruiting serious patients, the different programs you can have, where to find your nice patients and then how to onboard them. This is a topic we hear that a lot of people aren’t comfortable with around the world. I think a lot of people just struggle with how to find tyrannized patients and then how to know if they are a good, serious patient and they’re worth bringing on and things like that.

00;00;46;04 – 00;01;05;22
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And I think there’s a lot of techniques that come from theater that a lot of health care simulation is unaware of or does not include. And there’s a lot of tips and tricks that can come from theater because obviously they’ve been doing this for a very long time. But I think a lot of times we don’t necessarily go to them for those tips and tricks when it comes to serious patients.

00;01;05;25 – 00;01;26;17
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Yeah, And I think they just have some really incredible tools in their tool belt. That’s kind of the time tested, you know, down to standards of best practice that everybody has employed. So we can definitely apply that. I think that that’s one of the big benefits to the program that we started is that theater was involved so we can share with them the things that we learned and then hopefully help them along the way.

00;01;26;18 – 00;01;43;05
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Yeah, and there is some really great crossover between people from the theater world that want to come over and do health care simulation, right? There’s a lot of people who will see it as a benefit. I know that there are a lot of people that are associated with Aspie and that they have a lot of background in theater and things along those lines.

00;01;43;10 – 00;02;08;25
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But I think that sometimes those tips and tricks get lost and maybe one institution and it’s like maybe one institution has that and they’re using it, but it doesn’t really get out to the masses. And I don’t know why, but I just feel like maybe it’s viewed as like, that works here, or, you know, things are going great here, but I just feel like often we’ll find pockets, like we’ll find one or two places like, Yeah, we do it this way and it’s going great for us, but then it usually isn’t.

00;02;08;26 – 00;02;30;19
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Beyond that, it’s not shared. Beyond that, it’s kind of kept in these. Yeah, and I think I think it’s one of those things where people that are instituting things that are from that theatrical, you know, foundation, they, like you said, they don’t realize that other people are hungry for. Yeah, you know what? You know what they could do or what other things they could do to improve the program.

00;02;30;26 – 00;02;48;00
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And so they don’t necessarily share it. Like you said, it’s kind of like they they’re like, this is what works. I remember when I first started this program, my head was down for a good, solid three years trying to get that program up and running. And then when I had time to take a breath, the idea was all I got to tell people about this really cool thing that we’re doing.

00;02;48;02 – 00;03;17;23
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So it took some time. Yeah. And I think, you know, the busyness of academia just keeps people from necessarily sharing, you know? And people in the simulation world are not necessarily always PhDs, so that, you know, that drive to publish or perish or present or perish isn’t necessarily there. But I will say that if you can get support from your leadership for some workload to be attributed to that, it really does build the community.

00;03;17;23 – 00;03;43;20
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So yeah, so let’s talk about the different programs because there are a lot of different programs, but typically they’re going to boil down to a volunteer program where you are bringing in members of the community, friends, things along those lines to come in and volunteer as your staff and ICE patients. There’s also the paid programs where you actually have budget and are paying hourly for your service patients.

00;03;43;23 – 00;04;22;09
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Some people will partner with medical schools and things along those lines and pay to include their senior night patients in their programs. And then the more unique option, but it is gaining popularity is having a three credit course at your university or it doesn’t have to be three credits, but one credit, some sort of four credit course at a university or community college that is then bringing in acting students or different students are on campus to come in and play the role of the series patient and they aren’t compensated with necessarily $20 an hour, but they are compensated with course, credit for participating.

00;04;22;11 – 00;04;46;09
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Yeah. So really, I think that there’s a lot of different pros and cons and I don’t want to get too far into the concept of using faculty as your nice patients, because I think that that’s a whole nother topic or area to discuss and it is very separate. If you are going to use faculty and other students inside of simulation, I think that that comes with a very different angle and lens and perspective.

00;04;46;15 – 00;05;07;08
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But the, the concept there’s a whole nother podcast on. Yeah, but the concept of bringing and volunteers are having a paid program are using other students because there is a stake in the game for them of why they’re involved. Right. So it may be that they want to give back for volunteer, they may be looking for a job for paid and then for students they need a course credit to graduate.

00;05;07;08 – 00;05;30;28
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Right. So looking at it in terms of motive across the board with those three programs, you can see that there’s motive from the serious patients. ANGLE Yeah. And one of the things that I will say as far as the recruiting process, I think by and large, once you have found your core group of ESPs, they love it so much, regardless of which way you choose, they line up so much.

00;05;30;29 – 00;05;51;18
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It would be around like five or six. Yeah, like that’s really what you’re looking for is a five or six to get started. Yeah, but if you can get five or six that are brought in and are like, this is amazing, they will find other stereotypes to help you. And so finding those five or six solid people who really love it, that’s going to be your jumping off point.

00;05;51;25 – 00;06;08;09
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That’s what you’re going to be working towards in the beginning is to find those core five people that really are going to love it and enjoy it and make your life easier. And I think that’s something that gets lost a lot of times that series patients should be there to make your life easier. They should be there to make your life easier.

00;06;08;09 – 00;06;29;10
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And if they are not, they are probably not the right fit. So looking at the programs from volunteer paid and of course credit, right? When you’re doing that, there’s all different ways of who you’re looking for. Depending on the program that you’re starting with, it’s fairly easy to determine what program you can start because do you have money?

00;06;29;13 – 00;06;49;02
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It’s going to be can you start a paid program? If you have no money and you have no budget, you can’t go forward with a paid program? Well, the one thing I will say about that to consider if you don’t have money or budget, is the federal work study program. So if you are part of a not for profit institution, they have something called federal work study.

00;06;49;04 – 00;07;09;08
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And I think every institution and that’s where disadvantaged students or students that have lower incomes can work and you’re paying them minimum wage or maybe a little better than minimum wage, but out of your budget is only 25% of their hourly wage. And then the rest of the 75% is is handled by the federal government. So it’s a way you can schedule them just like it would be work.

00;07;09;11 – 00;07;31;28
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But again, they’re college students, so there’s there’s give and take to it. Yeah, but that is the one thing I will say is if you have at least a small, teeny amount of budget, that could be ten, you know, two or $3 an hour could potentially be put aside. That is one option that is lower cost. And know that when you’re starting, it is going to get it’s going to be harder for you to get budget when you just have an idea or a concept.

00;07;31;28 – 00;07;49;10
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And then going to your dean or director for budget with just an idea. They’re not going to buy in right away. Well, they may you may be lucky that might be great. But for the most part, they’re not going to just buy in with the concept of, okay, let’s set aside X amount of money for your budget, for your hourly rate.

00;07;49;13 – 00;08;10;10
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Now. Well, one thing I’ll add to that is if if you have a graduate nursing program and then program, a program or a met or the your medicine, those are almost assumed that they will all have ESPs just because of the nature of the way that they are are tested in accredited. But the undergraduate programs are likely not.

00;08;10;10 – 00;08;28;24
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Or if it’s like a visit physical therapy program or something like that, because it’s just not not necessarily automatically assumed that you will have that budget for sure. So moving forward with how do you actually then get started would be to start with a volunteer program or starting with a few people who are willing to jump in and be a part of it?

00;08;29;01 – 00;08;56;02
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Yeah. So looking at the volunteer program where you’re going to want to start looking for so your nice patients is in any type of local community groups. So looking at if you have church groups, if you have a theater groups in the area, the local, local theater, again, usually you’re going to have three or four that are either going to be state region associated with us or certain theater in town, things like that.

00;08;56;04 – 00;09;14;03
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But being able to really hone in on those groups, you need to find a champion, though, because if you reach out to the local theater groups and they’re kind of like, sure, we’ll just let people know what you’re doing and really don’t give you much time or energy to understand what it is. Probably move on there. Probably not.

00;09;14;06 – 00;09;36;14
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Or again, try to meet up with them, have coffee with them to really explain what it is, have them come and watch a simulation so you can show them. This is what I’m trying to replace is a mannequin. I’m trying to bring people in, but you need someone who’s going to champion you in that world because the same concept as if you had someone coming in from the outside that wanted to bring nursing students in for something.

00;09;36;14 – 00;10;02;02
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Right? You’re as the instructor, as someone who’s familiar with it, are going to be able to explain it, talk about it, get them excited about it, So much better than someone who’s from the outside who doesn’t understand nursing. It’s the same concept with theater. If you want theater people to get excited and see the benefits, you need a fellow theater person who can speak that language to be able to understand it at a high level and be able to be able to communicate that to the students that are doing it.

00;10;02;05 – 00;10;21;19
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Yeah. And one of the things that my theater faculty would always talk about, because, you know, when you think about it, okay, so what’s in it for the community theater people that are involved in community theater? And the first thing I would say about community theater is they volunteer hours and hours and hours of their time for dress rehearsal and performance in community theater set design.

00;10;21;20 – 00;10;40;09
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And so they are my youngest daughter just did a community theater piece, and she was she would go to rehearsal, I think it was three nights a week and then until 10 p.m. Yeah, from like 6 to 10 p.m., three nights a week for probably six or seven weeks. And then the last week it was every single night.

00;10;40;13 – 00;11;08;21
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And she was, she was not a main character, main role but, but they, they commit that they’re going to spend that time. So volunteerism is a part of what they do. So that’s, that’s embedded in them. The other aspect that is benefit for them is the opportunity for Improvizational work. So, you know, if they are an aspiring actor or if they just enjoy that, that aspect, they most people love the idea of giving back, especially in health care.

00;11;08;29 – 00;11;28;07
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But they also are going to learn the skills of Improvization because you just never know how the learners are going to interact with this piece. So they’ve got to be able to they know who their character is. And and I remember doing the simulations for the first few years and one of the early theater miners that that did our did our first simulations.

00;11;28;13 – 00;11;44;14
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He said, it’s as if I have the script but nobody else in the play does. And it’s that kind of idea that he had to be able to he knew he knew who he was, but he had to be able to improvise based off of what was happening within the simulation. And I think that that builds in Holmes amazing skills.

00;11;44;14 – 00;12;02;29
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But he would say it’s 360 degrees IMPROVIZATION So typically if you’re doing Improvization, you’re on a stage and you know, it’s 180 degrees, but this is all around you where, you know, you have a simulation going on. And so people are looking to add that skill to their to their repertoire or even just to build well, at the same time, giving back.

00;12;03;03 – 00;12;29;10
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Yeah. The other component there too, for the volunteer perspective is gaining resume experience. It is not easy to gain resume experience when you’re new into theater and you’re just trying to kind of get your start in different areas again. There’s only so many avenues you can go through, but when you are doing simulation, being able to add that to your resume and kind of work different areas, that’s going to add to what you can talk about.

00;12;29;10 – 00;12;49;05
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It also sets you apart from other people because it’s a unique thing that’s on your resume that you can talk about. And for younger actors who are looking to go to Chicago, New York, L.A., all these different places, there are a lot of high, big deal hospitals, a lot of big deal med schools where they can go around and then they can work.

00;12;49;11 – 00;13;09;22
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So if they have experience already volunteering at some of these smaller universities, community colleges, whatever it is, if they already have that on their resume, you can walk in the door with that. They’re going to be seeing a lot more, you know, because it because it’s so niche, they’re going to be seen as a leg up from other nice patients who are coming in and wanting to try it out for the first time.

00;13;09;29 – 00;13;30;00
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And then that’s a great way for them to be able to make money while they are going to auditions and things like that. Yep. In New York and in these big cities. Yeah. So we offered them a certificate of completion. So it was something to add to their resumé. I think you could also offer them a letter of reference, you know, to speak to their ability to, you know, be coached and, you know, all of those other things.

00;13;30;00 – 00;13;49;04
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So again, there’s there’s great benefit for that, you know, the paid opportunity down the road. And we also know that even if they are younger and aspiring to something that there is tons of opportunity for standardized patient educators if they were to continue to love this and want to do it as a full time profession. So there’s a lot of that.

00;13;49;04 – 00;14;15;24
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But but I also want to speak to the international community because I think it’s really important to talk about the idea that there’s a lot of even even within the United States, there’s a lot of volunteer required amounts for young people at universities or before they go to universities. So there may be a volunteer program where they this could be their service learning experience because that is a great opportunity.

00;14;15;24 – 00;14;38;12
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And the other thing that we heard about that a lot of people do is if there’s an assisted living or not assisted living, but independent living area for the geriatric population, there may be people there that want to volunteer and maybe they’re close enough. And I know one particular program, they would send a bus to go pick them up and then bring them on to campus so they didn’t even have to worry about driving.

00;14;38;12 – 00;14;58;11
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So there is that opportunity as well. If you have, you know, like an independent living facility close to you or 55 and older community, that that might be interested in doing that. And I think that that’s the more common route is when people think of syringes patients, they often think of people who are retired, they often think of people who are, you know, looking for things to keep them occupied.

00;14;58;14 – 00;15;18;26
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And I think that the key there is that don’t go into one area and just say, okay, this is my solution, because then you’re left with only a space of 1 to 1 traffic, one pool, and you don’t have that ability to really change up what you’re doing. But if you can approach younger people and have it with the mindset of you’re coming in to gain experience, this will be a resumé builder.

00;15;18;26 – 00;15;37;21
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This is a way for you to hone your craft. But then you also look at the retirement community and say, okay, this is a way to bring you guys in. These are the appropriate simulations that you’re going to be a part of. I think that that’s also appropriate, but it’s all about having that diverse pool. And I think sometimes people can find one area and it’s like, this works great.

00;15;37;21 – 00;16;02;12
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I’m going to stay here. But then what happens is that then they limit themselves and that there is not really a way of getting out. Right. Or if something happens and you know, that doesn’t work out down the road, then you’re limited. So yeah, put your put many eggs in different baskets. Yeah. My other recommendation as you’re looking for volunteers and building your program, have a business card, have something that you can hand to people up, hand flip that has information pretty much anywhere and everywhere.

00;16;02;12 – 00;16;17;16
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Like you can find people who might be a great fit in the grocery store. It could be your neighbors, it could be anyone, and almost be open to the fact that anyone might be the right person. My other little tidbit of advice, and I always say when I do consulting, make an email that is not your own email.

00;16;17;19 – 00;16;37;28
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If you’re going to start putting your email on fliers and putting them out in random places, do not put your work email on that. Create a standardized patient program at whatever it is. Good point so that you can filter through all of the junk you’re going to get. Just be aware of that. Don’t start off because she will start getting crazy stuff.

00;16;37;28 – 00;16;59;29
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So come up with a generic email before you start putting it out there. But working, get some literature, get a handout to explain it. Have someone who’s theater, look it over and then basically spread that far and wide, put it on community boards, put it online again, thinking about putting like just a pamphlet like PDF F on to Facebook groups and things like that.

00;17;00;04 – 00;17;20;08
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Spread it far and wide as much as you can. You’ll never know what you get back. That concept of doing more of that cold spread, you’re going to get less in return, but it’s less work. It’s kind of like you’re just putting it out everywhere and you see what you get back. But there’s a lot of local theater community groups, there’s a lot of just theater groups on Facebook with being out to put it out and say, Is anyone interested in this?

00;17;20;14 – 00;17;46;12
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Send it anyone, you know, invite them to come and see a simulation and help them. Let them come and observe and show them where the limitations are. The things that you’re struggling with are the things that you want to accomplish. I think that brings it to life pretty quickly, you know, But so looking at that, especially when you don’t have the money as an incentive, being able to look at kind of what they’re going to be a part of and what they’re going to be giving back to and things like that really help.

00;17;46;12 – 00;18;06;06
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Now, looking at the paid programs, typically with that, I would not recommend just putting that out everywhere and everywhere. I would say be a little bit more tightfisted with what you’re looking at, like don’t go on Craigslist and put that on Craigslist. You know, things like along those lines, like that’s going to be antiquated very soon. You want to be tighter with it.

00;18;06;06 – 00;18;36;00
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So when you’re looking for the paid programs, again, go to if you have a theater department at your institution, even if they’re not closed or you may not be able to partner with them, they have the connections you need. They know where you are. So if you were to say, Hey, this is the position I’m looking for, I’m trying to get this in the theater groups, they will be able to help you even if you just have, you know, kind of like a friend’s daughter who is in theater being like, Hey, where are places that you look for for position where things that you look at their website, put it out there on different areas

00;18;36;00 – 00;18;52;11
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that they know about. LinkedIn is another great opportunity of being able to find people who are looking for positions in theater or want to be involved in theater. But my recommendation is just kind of like all the things we talked about with volunteer still applies to paid, but I would say just be a little more tightfisted with it.

00;18;52;11 – 00;19;18;26
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Don’t put it out everywhere and everywhere because especially when you’re offering slightly above minimum wage, which is what your nice patients require, hopefully that gets better. Yeah, and they require that you’re going to not want to put this just anywhere and everywhere because you are going to get a much, much higher rate of return. But then you’re going to be spending a lot of time sifting through resumes, interviews, auditions and things like that.

00;19;18;26 – 00;19;34;11
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So just be a little when it’s paid, be a little more tightfisted volunteer. I’d say kind of spread the word anywhere in everywhere to see what you get. Then when it comes to having a course, the great part with that is that you already have a built in program and her audience of who you can reach out to.

00;19;34;18 – 00;19;58;14
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So be able to put it out on, you know, just your general courses and things like that where students can apply to be a part of the course. You want to have a theater partner or want to be closely involved with your theater partner, and then also looking at adult students. I think that that’s another big one is I would really encourage anyone who’s doing that to make sure that they have good inroads and good communication with them.

00;19;58;16 – 00;20;22;18
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The other thing that I think is really important is that you are doing your best to explain this course to advisors. So getting in front of a lot of advisors so that they understand what this course is rather than just being a description like a little paragraph. But you as the person running the course, being able to describe it to them, make, make sure they really understand what it’s going to be, what the expectations are going to be.

00;20;22;20 – 00;20;41;09
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It’s going to increase your enrollment is going to increase people being excited and wanting to know more about it. Yeah, and I would say that you don’t have to start big, you know, if you just have one or two students that sign up, you know, the way that we we positioned it was it started as an independent study course and it was geared towards theater minor.

00;20;41;09 – 00;21;00;29
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So obviously that’s kind of easier because I had a theater partner that recruited them. But as we started to grow, it got bigger and that that getting bigger was the fact that we now had to reach out to advisors. So we created a one pager that we sent out to the advisors and it was slow, it trickling in.

00;21;00;29 – 00;21;29;05
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We didn’t get a lot of buy in initially, but you know, we maybe have six or seven students and we started we moved it from an independent study to a like a developmental course. Like we were just kind of getting getting the curriculum developed and figuring out what it was that we needed. But but, but as we started to get some traction getting testimonials from the students, you know, so asking the students, can we share this with other advisors so they could read the impact that it had on the student that motivated other people?

00;21;29;05 – 00;21;48;22
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Yeah, and it was just adding that fuel to the fire building and what, what’s in it for them. Right. And so for us, because it was an elective, it fulfilled a, you know, a type A requirement, which was like the health or the humanities requirement that all students had, it also fulfilled a discovery learning credit. So what how does it benefit them?

00;21;48;22 – 00;22;20;20
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They’re going to get these you know, these check these boxes. Right. And if if that’s not the case of it, if it’s something else, it’s also I’ve seen other programs have it as an internship. So internships are pretty much at every community college, every university. So do you have an internship option within your you’re already built into your courses and can you take that this opportunity as an internship either for theater students or for health professions, students, or whatever the case may be, but they’re still getting course credit.

00;22;20;20 – 00;22;36;13
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It’s just that it’s already plugged into a course. You don’t have to start all over. I had no idea that that was an option when we started, and so we really started from the ground up. And I’m I’m thankful now that we did it. But there is a way to kind of jump into it faster if you already there’s already a course approved within your institution.

00;22;36;14 – 00;22;56;00
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Yeah. The only thing that I will say is just be make sure that whatever course you’re going to be plugging it into, it’s the right fit. Because I have had people in the past where they’ll say, we plugged it into 352 theater or whatever, and then they’re like, Yeah, we get less than 3 hours of simulation because it’s only part of that course act.

00;22;56;07 – 00;23;14;18
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And then it’s like, Well, that’s not even worth you training them if you’re going to get 3 hours of sim at the end. It’s like you’re I mean, it’s like, that’s not worth your time. So working through that component I think is also important. Is that like, yes, that may be the easier option and it may be the best place to start to like, you know, just, you know, get some feet under you, you know, figure it out.

00;23;14;21 – 00;23;34;20
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But just long term, understand that you like always just having it plugged in. If it’s not meeting your needs, you need to think beyond that because sometimes sort of start off with a bang and then the instructor isn’t great at, you know, even if there are more hours, I would say that you would have to have at least 15 hours, at least to make it worth to make it worse.

00;23;34;20 – 00;23;53;07
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Yeah. Okay. So everything that we’ve talked about so far, I term as going fishing, putting out all of your lines, getting the nets out there, getting as much as you can to get attention back. And at that point, that’s where you’re going to be able to see. How effective were you at getting the word out of what you need to do.

00;23;53;10 – 00;24;19;15
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I recommend that people start recruiting the semester before. If you don’t work inside of semesters, then usually three or four months before you’re trying to start hiring or actually looking at bringing people in to start simulation. So some people who, you know, may be hospital based and things along those lines, it’s twice a year that they do that and they just have different times that they coin those that work inside of universities and community colleges.

00;24;19;15 – 00;24;44;02
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Typically that’s going to be for that upcoming fall or spring semester that you have. You might diversify in the summer and winter as well. But for general purposes, you’re looking at twice a year at this point, regardless of how you are gaining your applicants who are interested, that is how it needs to be approached. Is an applicant that is interested versus someone who here to help me.

00;24;44;05 – 00;25;02;24
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Thank you so much for saying yes. And you know, she knows that because that’s the way I was when I started. Well, that was I mean, because it was how it began was just any a warm body that wants to be a part of this. Yes. We love you. Thank you for helping. You’re amazing. Come on in. And that just led to so many other headaches.

00;25;02;27 – 00;25;24;09
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And it wasn’t until me, as someone who came through as a steer nice patient and then became this serious patient educator that went, This is awesome. And we need to stop just accepting everybody and everybody all the time and like, just being like, Thank you so much for showing up. We need to approach this from a standpoint of this is an honor to be a part of this.

00;25;24;09 – 00;25;41;26
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This is a exclusive group that does this and you are being accepted into that group. And because of that, there are certain expectations that come along with that. And I think that often inside of paid programs, that’s much more common. You know, that’s a much more common culture of like, you’re here to do a job, we’re going to pay you.

00;25;41;28 – 00;26;06;05
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This is how that transaction works. But I do think that for volunteer programs and course credit, often that gets lost in terms of this is still there’s still expectations, there’s still requirements. You can’t just come in whenever you want to come in and then not show up. Other times that there has to be certain expectations. So how we approached it was viewing it as an application process for you to show interest.

00;26;06;05 – 00;26;30;10
—-
You were coming in as an applicant and we were going to schedule an interview in an audition. And I would recommend if you are able to separate those two things out, do an interview and then do an audition for us. We didn’t have the time to do two separate things and come back differently, so we just blended it all together where they did a 15 minute interview and then a 50 minute audition, and we just scheduled them for a 30 minute block.

00;26;30;12 – 00;26;48;20
—-
Yeah, and I’ll just say that what everything that she’s sharing is just saving you from a ton of heartache the next semester. So it’s work and then have to block the time. One other Pro-tip I would give to this is when in the beginning we would do it at the end of the semester because that’s when I had time to breathe.

00;26;48;23 – 00;27;11;14
—-
But if people have already selected the courses, it’s hard to get them to come back. If you’re doing four course credit, so do your do your interviews and auditions before they actually select their courses. We did it the week before they selected their courses for the next semester because then we could have conversations with them about their schedule and if their schedules were too busy in the interview, we would find that out.

00;27;11;14 – 00;27;32;01
—-
Yeah, we’ll get to that in a minute, but again, set, when you’re scheduling these interviews and auditions, do it before they’re signing up for courses, if it is for four course credit. Yeah. And so with that specifically for the course credit, we didn’t have it where students could just sign up for the course. It would say, if you’re interested in this course, contact so-and-so, because again, we did it.

00;27;32;03 – 00;27;50;11
—-
They kind of just added on. And so because of that, then they would contact us and then we would say, there’s an interview process. Let’s set you up with a 30 minute interview. Yeah. And I will say with that, that is something that we brought over from theater. Like I didn’t I would never really honestly have thought of it, but because they always did auditions and in the beginning that’s what would start with is just an audition, not the interview.

00;27;50;17 – 00;28;09;18
—-
Interview Part was really important. Later, but but that that was definitely a pro tip that theater brought with them that really made a difference. What I feel like whenever I talk to people about interviews and auditions, their eyes get like saucers and it’s like, What do you mean? I don’t know how to do that. I have no idea what you mean when you say that.

00;28;09;25 – 00;28;26;22
—-
So going into the nitty gritty, we’ll talk about these details because everyone’s capable of doing it. It’s just that you need to know these tips and tricks. And I think sometimes theater comes in like, yeah, you just do an audition. But people who haven’t run auditions in the past are like, I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to doing that.

00;28;26;22 – 00;28;51;09
—-
Right? And it’s super easy, super simple. We have Protip help for you for this too. But yeah, so looking at it, scheduling those 30 minute blocks, we usually would block off an afternoon or a day and we would have our standardized patient educator, we would have our theater partner, and then you as the nursing representative there. And then when we were first starting before we really had that serious patient educator, we would bring in people who were already a part of it.

00;28;51;09 – 00;29;07;04
—-
So if we had people who had some adult speech to, they would come in and they would help with the interview part, usually to be able to just kind of explain it, get people excited, then be able to talk about what brought them in. And that was also very helpful to have other people that were even explaining it.

00;29;07;04 – 00;29;26;27
—-
What’s different about this than than what you normally are doing? Yeah, and I think being able to have what again, it’s easier once you have those five people under your belt. I think when you’re getting started, you’re still just figuring out what’s going to work for you best. But once you have those five people, it makes it a little easier to get more of a formalized process.

00;29;27;00 – 00;29;45;13
—-
So bringing them in, we would often start with the interview portion. And the interview portion really was just discussing what their background was, what they were interested in. So if they were a college student, what’s your major? If they were a professional, what do you do for work? The next component was always discussing what their schedule looked like.

00;29;45;15 – 00;30;10;12
—-
This is the biggest piece of advice that I can offer to anybody. If their schedule looks like they are busy from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday, that probably is not going to work for how you run simulations for us. We ran Sims Monday through Friday, sometimes Saturday, but Monday through Friday, typically from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m..

00;30;10;16 – 00;30;40;17
—-
That was our typical normal calendar. Now we got it always. There were some evening ones and some variation there, but the bulk of our Sims would happen on those days. If someone works a 9 to 5, they are not going to be able to come in from Sims from 9 to 5. It’s just not going to work. So being aware of that and addressing that upfront in the interview because there’s no point in sending them through all the training because then by the time you’re ready to put them in the SIM, they’re not available, they’re just not going to be available with college students.

00;30;40;17 – 00;31;01;28
—-
If they would come in and they would have courses that were huge blocks all in the middle of the day, you know, from 9 a.m. till 1030. And then from 11 to 1, and then from 130 to 330 again, unlimited. I might be able to get you in a little bit in the afternoon, but there’s not much I can do with that.

00;31;02;01 – 00;31;23;06
—-
Also, research was a big thing. If people were involved in research that took up days and days of of them volunteering at like a lot of our students that were enrolled were pre-med students. So they had they either had to go and do research. Yeah. For four again to get for this to build their resume for pre-med or they would go and be a scribe at the hospital or something along those lines.

00;31;23;06 – 00;31;42;01
—-
So we needed to find that out and have a conversation about whether this was the semester for them to be enrolled in the course or internships were another big one where that took up a huge chunk of time. But all of these things that are great that are typically like you look at it and you’re like, Wow, you’re such a well-rounded student, you’re involved in internships, you’re doing research, you have all these course cards.

00;31;42;01 – 00;32;06;15
—-
Like, that’s amazing. But for us it was like, That’s amazing. That’s not going to work for us. Let us know when you have a less busy semester or again, for people who wanted to be involved and let’s say they worked a 9 to 5, it could be this might be a great opportunity for like these hand plucked situations in terms of, we have an evening swim, we can bring you in from, you know, whatever, 7 to 9 or something like that, if that would work for you.

00;32;06;15 – 00;32;24;15
—-
But it’s just been very honest. And I think sometimes in STEM, we avoid having that hard conversation in the interview process because we just want everyone to be excited and we feel like we can’t turn anyone away. But what ends up happening is you spend so much time spinning your wheels trying to get these people involved and it just doesn’t go anywhere.

00;32;24;15 – 00;32;52;19
—-
It just doesn’t. And you spend a lot of effort getting them trained and then, you know, it it just drops. They can fill an hour or 2 hours. And that’s that’s about it. The other component that you’re going to want to talk about is what is their motivation for wanting to be involved? And this is a big one in terms of volunteers, especially like we talked about earlier, when you’re just spreading the word far and wide of wanting to have everyone involved, you don’t want to bring in people who have their own noxious experiences with health care.

00;32;52;25 – 00;33;09;28
—-
If they tell you that they’re here because they want to help fix health care providers, or if you talk about why do you want to be involved? And they go into a very long story about how they were mistreated or how they want to show people empathy and things like that, that’s not going to be the right fit nine out of ten times.

00;33;09;28 – 00;33;33;16
—-
That’s not going to be the right fit because you don’t want it to be that they come in to simulation with the mindset of I’m the educator and I went through this experience and so now I need to share this with everybody else, you know, going through nursing school or going through med school or whatever it is you want people to come in and they may have national experiences or gone through a very hard time in health care.

00;33;33;23 – 00;33;52;29
—-
But if they’re terminal ology is in terms of I want to fix them, I want to be the person to share. Like that’s where that alarm bell if I mean, you want to just make sure that their motivations are altruistic. I mean, I think that at the end of it, that’s that’s the important piece of this, is that, you know, their motivations to do this is to help the learners.

00;33;52;29 – 00;34;13;09
—-
Because no matter what, even if you have graduate nursing programs and they have experiences, nurses, when they step into the shoes of an MP, they’re still going to trip over their words and they’re still going to make mistakes. And so if the goal is to help them be better and do better and be more confident and grow, then that’s that’s what that’s what you’re looking for.

00;34;13;09 – 00;34;38;00
—-
That’s what you hope for. Because if, you know, just think about if one student makes a mistake that is an empathetic or, you know, makes a comment, again, not, you know, asking the why question to somebody with mental health problems or something like that, that that’s going to evoke a much stronger reaction from somebody who’s coming at this with already a defense mechanism or an intent to to fix health care, to find the problem.

00;34;38;04 – 00;34;53;01
—-
That’s what you don’t want. But anything in terms of wanting to give back, anything of wanting to help people grow, you know, again, like, you know, I don’t have much going on. I want this to be a way of getting out of the house. All of that. Ding, ding, ding. Great answer. That’s what you want. Like, those are great answers.

00;34;53;01 – 00;35;16;29
—-
That’s what you’re looking for. And that’s who you can find in this episode. We’re going to be sharing with you guys a resource on all the interview questions that we typically ask throughout a semester of bringing on serious patients. That will be in the comments section. If you guys want to download that, there’s a few other nuances that we get into, but overarching what we’re looking for is what is your availability look like and are there any red flags in terms of.

00;35;16;29 – 00;35;32;29
—-
Well, I think the other big one is how did you hear about us or how did you hear about the class? Because if if you have another ISP and they’re like, Tom was talking to me, then typically you’ll know that they they’ve explained a little bit of clinical also understand professionalism. Yeah. Based off of that. Yeah yeah.

00;35;33;00 – 00;35;55;23
—-
All right. And then going into the audition portion. So once they would complete the interview, we’d get to know them a little bit better. We would then hand them over and they would go into the audition process and the audition process, they would act out three different roles with strong emotions. My biggest recommendation for any of the scenarios that you want to do is do not include mental health in your audition portion.

00;35;55;25 – 00;36;16;13
—-
Absolutely not. People don’t understand it. There’s a lot of misconceptions and you’re not going to see the range you’re looking for because they are doing their best off of stereotypes, but they have no idea what it’s actually like. So doing emotions like anger, doing emotions like sadness, doing emotions like pain, things like that are what you’re looking for.

00;36;16;18 – 00;36;35;02
—-
So that’s going to give you that range. But don’t go too deep into any type of diagnoses or what you’re looking for. Like, again, I can remember someone telling me that they had multiple personality disorder and they’d be like, I can’t bring people on that don’t really like. But your job is to explain what multiple personality disorder is.

00;36;35;02 – 00;36;50;08
—-
It’s not them coming in and already being an expert on that, knowing how to portray that, there’s no way that they’re going to be able to like just watch TV. They did an audition and the person was to be. Yes. So I think what I was thinking when you were talking about it in the beginning is make it something relatable.

00;36;50;08 – 00;37;14;25
—-
Like, yeah, they broke their arm. Yeah. When you think about pain, not that they have appendicitis and they’re in the hospital, haven’t been hospitalized. Yeah. Or that they’ve always had this pain their entire like they have chronic pain and they’ve had this just make it 25 years completely that they could potentially plug into as far as a relatable you know we did one of grief and loss and they were just being told that their child had passed.

00;37;15;02 – 00;37;39;22
—-
And though they many of our audition were not parents, they had seen, you know, or, you know, had the emotion of grief and lost somewhere in their life. So just think about relatable emotions, but not necessarily like hardcore health care. Yeah. Yeah. And anything that’s going to be to Hartley to get like a Parkinson’s or something that’s just very hard to relate to situation.

00;37;39;24 – 00;38;11;28
—-
But being able to have scenarios that are going to be relatable again, same way we want them to want the students do well, you want your audition is to do well as well. So you want to give them things that they’re going to be able to excel at. You’re not trying to get that trick. So bringing them in, being able to go through the audition, what you’re really looking for there, and these aren’t necessarily like deal breakers like end the semi, end it, thank them and walk away but they are things to look for is playing to the audience, which we always refer to as the person who’s coming in, who’s looking for the laughs,

00;38;11;28 – 00;38;28;23
—-
or they’re looking for the big reaction because they’re used to being on stage. They’re used to that is what they perform for. They perform for the the applause. They perform for the laugh. They perform for the reaction. That’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but it is something you’re going to have to be aware of during their training process.

00;38;28;25 – 00;39;05;07
—-
And watching them start out with the simulation is that if they are some new place of the audience that needs to be corrected and you need to work through that. The other one is making choices. So that is a theater term of making choices where basically if they start sitting and let’s say it’s an anger audition, right, like they’re playing a person who is upset by the situation that’s going on that then they choose to stand up, they choose to pace around the room, they use the area that they have, but they’re making a choice rather than just staying seated the entire time and going through the emotions that they are making choices to go

00;39;05;07 – 00;39;28;01
—-
beyond what where they started from. Yeah, And I think the other choices we would always in it, you know, with the auditions, we didn’t give them a big script, you know, we didn’t have we just gave them a couple paragraphs. But one paragraph. Yeah. It was just a simple Yeah, but one of the things that we would do is we would ask the person who broke their arm, how did they break it in the middle of that, in the middle of the audition?

00;39;28;08 – 00;39;52;07
—-
And that had not been included in the information. So were they able to come up with something quickly over how they broke? Because they would know a person would know how they broke their arm? Right. Or did they fumble over those words? So that is another piece for choices. Sometimes you would see it where they could be like, I was on a dirt bike playing with my siblings and, you know, like I had a tree and I fell off, you know, things and you’d get a full story.

00;39;52;07 – 00;40;14;06
—-
Then somebody would you say, Yeah, I broke it. I just I just I just broke it. Yeah. So being able to see those differences of how they react and respond when they’re ask questions they’re not aware of or don’t know, that’s always helpful. And then the other component that we would always add into the auditions was if it wasn’t going well, being able to pause, give them feedback on what we were looking for.

00;40;14;06 – 00;40;32;21
—-
I give them coaching notes. Yeah, but, but being able to say, you’re at a three right now anger wise, I know you had an eight. That was always really helpful to give them that scale and say, You’re here, I need you here. So being able to like get and be able to communicate, that was always helpful because you don’t want to go through and be like, Well, that was really bad.

00;40;32;24 – 00;40;55;13
—-
But then you never gave the opportunity to improve because sometimes they just aren’t aware of what you’re looking for or they don’t have a lot of acting experience. Like you said, a lot of our students were pre-med or they’re just younger coming in and they just don’t have a lot of background in it, or they might even have a lot of background in acting, but maybe not improv, because improv is a whole nother game than than doing a scripted play.

00;40;55;18 – 00;41;12;27
—-
So being able to give them those coaching notes on what you’re looking for, then letting them restart and start again. That was always really helpful, I think to always get the best out of people and be able to see it for what it really was. Well, it just spoke to their coach ability. Yeah, exactly. If they were going to be coachable once they were in the scenarios and things like that.

00;41;13;04 – 00;41;31;13
—-
Yeah. So one other thing I want to say that we instituted later on that I thought was really, really helpful or at least insightful, is asking them to bring a headshot with them to the audition. So the ask, it’s not necessarily that we needed the headshot, though. It was nice because we had different folders for them also to remember them once going through it.

00;41;31;13 – 00;41;50;10
—-
But the headshot ask was Did they read their email completely and did they follow directions? Now again, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to accept somebody that forgot their headshot, but we would remind know a good note too. But we would remind them, hey, you know, send us an email with your headshot. And if they, you know, followed up on it.

00;41;50;12 – 00;42;11;27
—-
Yeah. Okay. You know, again, it’s a note, but it is something just to see how responsible people are. And, you know, it didn’t have to be anything fancy, but it was just like, Hey, can you bring us a printed headshot? Yeah, it just that was something that later on really helped. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And having that is kind of one of the first tests was very helpful.

00;42;12;02 – 00;42;35;11
—-
Going through the interview and audition. And then at the end we would all come together and we would discuss person by person. And I will say, as you’re going through at the end deciding who gets accepted, we were very lenient. Like it was like, You are not Juilliard, right? Like we are accepting a lot of people in here, even if there are like a red flag or two, we are like, okay, we can handle that.

00;42;35;17 – 00;42;58;25
—-
The biggest reasons why we don’t accept we wouldn’t accept people would be if we felt like they were going to come in and try to fix health care providers or their schedules were not open. Those were the two main things. The other component that I would always look for is someone who I would be comfortable having them interacting with the nursing students or the med students or the physical therapy students.

00;42;59;02 – 00;43;20;29
—-
Who is it that I’m like, If I felt like I’m not comfortable putting you in a place of giving feedback or being able to go into that situation and be like, you know, emotionally intelligent through it, that would always be another big red flag for me, is if I felt like they didn’t have the emotional intelligence to go in and be able to be professional with these students and interact in a professional setting.

00;43;21;05 – 00;43;39;28
—-
That was the only other thing I would say look for. I would say a couple of times, and this may have been before you joined us, but sometimes people would audition and they were so flat and uncomfortable that I did not feel as though it would bring a realistic patient care scenario and so we didn’t accept them. So I think it was like once or twice.

00;43;39;29 – 00;44;08;08
—-
Yeah, but by and large they try, you know, if you have someone that, that is flat, but they’re but they’re working at it, give them characters and again this will get to this in a different probably different podcast but give them characters that are closely related to who they are versus having them to do psychology that they would do that a lot where when we would have students who necessarily were coming in didn’t have the confidence because again, like, you know, when you’re grabbing volunteers, like they may be like, I’ve never done theater before.

00;44;08;08 – 00;44;25;05
—-
I have no idea. I would always start them with their first scene that they’re going to do is someone who’s very close to who they are, right, Like you said, like a mom or a dad or a college student or whoever it might be, a grandparent. You know what it takes to fire a lot of emotions or a lot of nonverbal, you know, just similar.

00;44;25;07 – 00;44;46;05
—-
It’s not as big of a reach for them. They have so they have a lot of things to draw off of. And Then depending on how they did with that, it would be like, okay, we can get them to that next level. And I think a lot of times and this was my favorite part of running the Serious Patient program was seeing go from the audition and you’d have like nuggets and it’d be like, there they got something they don’t even know they have.

00;44;46;07 – 00;45;03;14
—-
They don’t even know they have this ability and being able to see that and then kind of putting them in a few, like a few things that might stretch them a little bit. But, you know, they’re in their safe zone and then being able to be like, look, you can move up, you can do that next level, you can do that next thing, and really pushing them.

00;45;03;18 – 00;45;31;05
—-
I always really enjoyed that because you would have, you know, the ones that like really seen out my head were usually the pre-med students who had no experience with doing serious patients, doing simulation anything. And they’d come in and they were so shy and they felt like this was just not the right place for them. And then just being able to put them in these situations and watching them grow and then then being able to see how much they’ve improved over the semester and how much they’re able to take on new challenges that they weren’t necessarily expecting.

00;45;31;05 – 00;45;53;26
—-
It’s just like that’s all just really special. As an educator, that’s just near and dear to your heart. I mean, that’s just what you know, I think of it as like I would get excited when I would see the nursing students learning. Right. But but then to see when the theater students were and that’s the beauty of what we did is that within our program, especially because they were all students, they were learning from within about each other, even outside of the health disciplines.

00;45;53;26 – 00;46;13;21
—-
You know, the theater students were learning from the nursing students and that physical therapy students. And yeah, you know, everybody was learning from each other. And I think that’s just again, it’s just such a blessed thing from my perspective because it really highlights the value of the ESP program and what it brings to not just health professions but even the people that are portraying the piece.

00;46;13;22 – 00;46;40;20
—-
Yeah. The other thing I just want to highlight as we’re wrapping up here is I think the other piece that really is special that happens when you do start to grow your program. So we talked about having those core five and beginning to expand. But as you start to have that diverse pool of series patients, one of the things I when I look back on the heydays of like, that was when things were really thriving, I think about how much community was had inside of the sterilized patient program.

00;46;40;26 – 00;47;03;19
—-
And you had students from all different disciplines as well as we had kind of a hybrid model, which is also what you can do. You don’t have to stick to one avenue and say, we only do paid or we only do volunteer. You can have a mix of how this is going to flow. So we really ended up having a volunteer program, a paid program, and of course program by the end of it because people wanted to stay on.

00;47;03;22 – 00;47;33;23
—-
And we have to find different ways of how to engage them and what was appropriate. But when we had that kind of all mix of people, we had people from all different backgrounds, all different majors and all different demographic generations. Exactly. And I think that that was a part that was so cool. And I remember seeing that firsthand, was seeing people who would come in as, you know, retirees that just kind of wanted to be able to get out of the house, then being able to be involved, as, you know, maybe the grandparent or something like that.

00;47;33;23 – 00;47;49;20
—-
But we did a few stems of having them as grandparents and having the grandchild in the swim with them. So now they’re collaborating in those aspects. We would do what they love similarly that working together, my, would you siblings in the room together to take care of Grandma and who’s going to go home with grandma at the end?

00;47;49;27 – 00;48;09;27
—-
But being able to see the all the natural connections that come from it, the natural relationships that occur. I think it was so special because you had so many people who in no other way would these people interact, no other way with these people, be friends or spend time together. But because of the nature of simulation, they came together and they were really able to interact.

00;48;09;27 – 00;48;28;08
—-
And I think that those were the pieces that really kept people coming back over and over again and wanting to be a part of it was there was this community that it was kind of like you went through it all together and you had these bonding experiences of going through them together and interacting together. And that just really fostered this very positive community.

00;48;28;11 – 00;48;46;25
—-
And I don’t know, like I couldn’t put a pin in how we did it, but I do think that in some ways there is a level of gratitude that you have for these people wanting to come in and be a part of the program. But it is this element of going through the interview and audition, and we always did an improv and having everyone go through the same process.

00;48;46;26 – 00;49;13;17
—-
Yeah, I was going to say, really, we taught them. They all do, regardless of what how they came in, right? Yeah, they all had the same requirements and they all took the same educational together together. And so they would do Improvization Again, that’s something that theater brought to this as part of our coursework was the Improvization piece. But I think the other big thing and we didn’t have it, but I think this is a I’ve heard this from multiple different institutions.

00;49;13;20 – 00;49;32;10
—-
The break room is another way to build community. Yeah, I think them just having it like they will naturally gravitate towards one another. Like we just have a long time. We didn’t have a break room, quote unquote, but we had like a little room that was kind of off of the same lab space where we would as instructors and things like that.

00;49;32;10 – 00;49;52;09
—-
That’s where we would meet to do dress rehearsals and things like that. That place would naturally gravitate where people would just come to do homework there. People would just come to hang out. People who were coming from the community, they would come an hour early just to kind of spend time with everybody and gain that relationship. And I think being able to have that area or space people can go because you don’t want that in the control room.

00;49;52;09 – 00;50;13;03
—-
It’s too chaotic. But having that small room, I mean, it really was our break room. We just didn’t know what at the time. But being able to foster that, I think is also very helpful to gain that. And similar to what we were saying earlier, it’s like that if you build it, they will come When you have that sense of community and relationships and positive ity that radiates from it.

00;50;13;10 – 00;50;37;13
—-
Then when you bring someone else in and they get it and they understand it, they’re again another lifetime person. And just to speak of the power of that, we had one student, Ari August, love her. She went on to med school and she has left me now but broke our hearts. She was around for probably six years. I mean, I think she started freshman year and then still remained on into her med school and then eventually was like, guys, I’m too busy.

00;50;37;13 – 00;51;14;12
—-
I can’t I can’t keep doing it. But she recruited, I think just her I think she recruited about 30 to 35 students over those years to come in and be a part of it. And some of those students again stayed. She did or additional years she did a whole I don’t wanna say dissertation because she was she was an undergrad but her whole project on looking at the outcomes of the that the theater health care theater program that she put a whole program or a whole did a whole not dissertation but a whole project on looking at the outcomes of standardized patients and how that impacts them.

00;51;14;12 – 00;51;34;19
—-
Yeah and I mean it’s she presented on it and everything that I am. I think so yeah it’s amazing. Yeah I think that’s the stuff though that is you don’t realize it when you’re starting out and you don’t have anything and you’re kind of like, but how? Like, how do I do that? And I think that my advice is just take first step, start to gather that group of people one or two.

00;51;34;20 – 00;51;51;01
—-
If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But when it works, it works and you’ll know and you’ll feel it in your gut. This is the right move and just keep moving in that direction. It doesn’t just naturally happen overnight. It takes a lot of work. And then you look up and you’re like, we did it. I didn’t even realize you did it.

00;51;51;01 – 00;52;07;21
—-
But you always have to be thinking in the beginning, what is the benefit for them? How does this benefit for them? And then once you get one or two and you can get testimonials from them, include that in your in what you’re talking about. So it’s not just you saying how it’s benefiting, but people that are as are saying, how it benefits.

00;52;07;21 – 00;52;28;02
—-
And one last comment here, because I know we are close on time here, but I think the other pieces I always would focus on what their interests were. So if they wanted to go on to physical therapy or if they wanted to be involved in some way, I would always try to find the things that they were interested in, connect them back in to those simulations.

00;52;28;10 – 00;52;53;07
—-
Once I knew what they liked and what they enjoyed, I would always try to get them involved in those sims and then once they had experience, I’d bring them back in and have them teach other students, patients those roles. And that really helped with quality control. Absolutely. And it’s just that bottom line that the more you are actually invested in them, invested in their interests, they can feel that and they will respond back with investing in you.

00;52;53;07 – 00;53;19;29
—-
And I think that just having that mutual respect and wanting to make each other, you know, happy, I don’t know of a better way of putting it. I think that it just really fosters that, that relationship that you’re looking for and that that’s definitely like a long term plan because in the beginning you only have one sim. So like you can’t necessarily plug them into their interest, but as your SIM program grows or your program grows, even knowing what they are, what they’re up to, like having them come in and be like, how was that exam that you had last?

00;53;20;02 – 00;53;38;07
—-
yeah, You know, but building those relationships, I think sometimes it is hard because you already have all your nursing students are your med students or you know, you’re already so dialed in and all these other areas. But if you can build those relationships where you know what’s going on with them, again, it goes so far like, how’s your grandkids do when you get to see them last week and, you know, all of those different pieces.

00;53;38;07 – 00;53;58;06
—-
I think that it just makes people feel seen and appreciated and it creates that culture that you want. Because again, then it’s just that two way street happens. All right, guys. Well, you can tell that we obviously love to talk about this topic. All things I really enjoy all of these conversations and being able to share more about it.

00;53;58;12 – 00;54;46;23
—-
We will have the interview questions in the comments. If you guys have a favorite interview question or audition tip, please leave it in the comments for those in the community and we’ll see you next time.

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