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Avkin Offers Free Simulations!


Simulated Participants have been trained to portray a patient in a simulation experience. This is to enrich the communication and realism for the healthcare provider in the learning experience.



Healthcare Theater is a 3 credit course at University of Delaware. Utilizing the theater department to train students to portray patients in our inter-professional simulation lab. 


Let's Get Started!

Team work

Step 1:

Find A Champion

You can't do this alone. Explore networking opportunities to find someone. You gotta find the ying to your yang. 

Tip: You are looking for someone in applied theater.



Step 2:

Find the Balance

You have to establish who is going to take certain roles. Who will write the sim?  Who will do the grading? 

Tip: Establish this before the semester starts. Helps with the headaches.


Step 3:

Start Small

Find one simulation to start with. We started an independent study with one simulation and four students. Learn to walk before you can run.

Tip: Find a manakin simulation you can easily adapt to SP's.


Step 4:

Where Do I Find SP's?

We used our theater professor to ask students in his classes,  advisors, Retired community, local theater schools or programs. 

Tip: LinkedIn search retired and looking for opportunity.


Step 5:


It is much easier to see if students are professional than struggle with students who are late or don't show up during the semester. 

Tip: It is much easier to teach someone to act than to teach someone to be professional. 


Step 6:


Just because someone is a great actor does not mean they should be an SP. You want to make sure they do not over act or perform in hopes of a laugh. You want to make sure they are authentic when performing.


Download Our Syllabus               Schedule A Phone Call


Studies on Simulated Participant

You can easily download the guide or Read More about case study.

Healthcare Theatre: A Unique Simulation Partnership

The Healthcare Theatre program, a unique approach to standardized patients, is a partner- ship between the College of Health Sciences and College of Arts and Science at the University of Dela- ware. This program now offers a permanent, cross-credited course that includes a repertoire of experiential and discovery learning strategies.

Amy Cowperthwait, MSN, RN BC-ACNSa,*, Jennifer Saylor, PhD, RN, ACNS-BCb, Kathleen Schell, PhD, RNc

Healthcare Theatre and Simulation: Maximizing Interprofessional Partnerships

Interprofessional collaboration not only improves our ability to offer high-quality patient care, but also offers unique, cost-effective opportunities to teach the next generation of health care pro- viders to do the same. In 2011, the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) restructured the traditional model of health care delivery to improve safety, quality, and accessibility to care in a patient-centered climate

Amy Cowperthwait, MSN, RN, ACNS-BCa,*, Jennifer Saylor, PhD, RN, ACNS-BCb,
Allan Carlsen
c, Laura A. Schmitt, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, ATCd, Tabassum Salam, MD, FACPe

Melissa K. Melby, PhDf, Sandra D. Baker, EdD, RD, LDNg

Expanding the Fidelity of Standardized Patients in Simulation by Incorporating Wearable Technology

Amy Cowperthwait, MSN, CNS, is Co-Director of Healthcare Theatre, Simulation Faculty in the College of Health Science at the University of Delaware. Amy Bucha, MS, is a mechanical engineer and serves as the liaison be- tween the College of Health Sciences and Engineering at the University of Delaware, and is both a researcher and a simulation technician. Amy Cowperthwait and Amy Bucha have partnered to develop technological devices that SPs can wear to increase simulation fidelity, including a chest vest for tracheostomy care.

Mary Edel Holtschneider, MEd, MPA, BSN, RN-BC, NREMT-P, CPLP

free simulations 

Additional simulations available.

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Click below to get access our character vault!



Diadactic Education

So, how do we teach them?

We get this question all the time. How do you teach college students to play patients with complex diagnosis? After years of training students we have it down to a perfect science 

(well we like to think so).

Class room 1

Class 1 

3 Hours

Simulation, Standardization, & Improv

  • We do our best to explain what simulation is, not always easy.
  • We teach students about Individual and Team Standardization.
  • Each student pairs up and performs an improv scene. 

The first class is all about introducing them to the course. We get a feel for them they get a feel for us. It is always a fun time to see each other do improv.



Class 2

3 Hours

Observations & Patient-Centered Feedback

  • Students have a homework assignment to observe someone different from themselves. 
  • Teach the basics of how to give patient feedback during debriefing. 
  • In small groups, we show videos of old simulations and the students practice giving feedback

This is a very intensive class since we will be going into detail on how to give feedback. This is the nuts and bolts to really make sure students can go into simulation and give effective feedback. 


Classroom 4


Class 3

3 Hours

Role Assignment & First Simulation

  • Students will experience ten-minute sessions on the roles they will be portraying during the semester. They get the option to opt-in or out of the role they have been assigned.
  • Students get the option to opt-in or out of the role they have been assigned.
  • Everyone practices for their first role in small groups.

This is my favorite class! I love talking about all the roles our students will be performing throughout the semester. 

Hear From Our Students

“I came into Healthcare Theatre with the hopes of learning to empathize with my future patients as a pre-med student; my thought process was that if I could be the patient in a treatment setting, then treating them holistically with compassion would come naturally. I did not expect, the level of awareness I would develop for the little things patients are affected by. I am preparing myself to be the best physician for my future patients possible.”

-Ari August Pre Med Student : Junior at University of Delaware

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“I took the Healthcare Theater class offered at the University of Delaware during the same time I was working as a Patient Care Technician on a surgical unit. There are many situations that can feel awkward as a young student with minimal psychiatric training. I benefited from experiencing emotions from a patient’s perspective immediately. It translated directly into my work and the clinical setting as a nursing student, helping me to understand how to best respond in these difficult situations.”

-Sammy Benjamin : Nursing Student : Senior at University of Delaware

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"I took Healthcare Theater class because I wanted to take a fun acting class. Once I did my first simulation I was hooked. I ended up turning simulation into a career and teaching others how to work with Simulated Participants."

-Megan Weldon Simulated Participant Educator

Megan Circle-1


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