Background: Learners should be exposed to the core principles of adolescent specific communication and assessment frameworks as part of health professional curricula. How this is done can vary considerably, but the inclusion of adolescents seems an ideal and realistic option. However, securing their participation can be challenging. A viable option to adolescent patients may be adolescent simulated patients. Objective: This study describes adolescents' lived experiences of being simulated patients in health professional education. Design & setting: An interpretive phenomenological approach involving ten adolescent simulated patients from two health professional education programs in Australia. Methods: Consenting/assenting adolescents participated in semi-structured audio-recorded interviews. Data was transcribed verbatim and analysed using van Manen's phenomenological approach. Results: Adolescents offered unique insights and intimate knowledge of their lived experiences of simulated patient work. Adolescents reflected upon the often positive but sometimes challenging journey of simulated patient work. The identification of harm, largely unrecognized by adolescents themselves is the most concerning finding of this study. Conclusions: The experiences of adolescent simulated patients can help to shape the future of their involvement. However, their experiences also reveal myriad challenges. The implications for ethical practice must be reviewed before inclusion of adolescents as simulated patients is a feasible option.
- Health professional education
- Simulated patients