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Integrating Actors Into a Simulation Program: A Primer

Pascucci, Robert C. MD; Weinstock, Peter H. MD, PhD; O’Connor, Brigid E. BA; Fancy, Kristina M. BA; Meyer, Elaine C. PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/SIH.0b013e3182a3ded7
Concepts and Commentary

Summary Statement We describe our more than 10 years’ experience working with actors and provide a “how-to” guide to recruiting, auditioning, hiring, training, and mentoring actors for work as simulated patients in simulation programs. We contend that trained actors add great realism, richness, and depth to simulation-based training programs. The actors experience satisfaction from their contributions, and their skill and improvisational talent allow programs to offer ethical and relational training, customized to a wide range of practitioners and adapted across a variety of health care conversations. Such learning opportunities can directly address Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies in preparing capable, confident, and empathic health care practitioners.

From the Executive and Continuing Professional Education (B.E.O.), Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School (R.C.P., P.H.W.); Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice (R.C.P., B.E.O., K.M.F., E.C.M.), Simulator Program (P.H.W.), Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA.

Reprints: Robert C. Pascucci, MD, Department of Anesthesia, Division of Critical Care, Bader 6, Boston Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail:

The authors have declared no financial or academic conflicts of interest in the preparation of this article. Drs Pascucci, Weinstock, and Meyer are faculty members of the Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program and/or the hospital’s Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, where the work described in the article is carried out. Ms O’Connor is the performing arts consultant referred to in the article, and Ms Fancy is an administrative assistant with the program.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.