Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


The use of high-fidelity simulation and standardized patients (SPs) in occupational therapy (OT) education is expanding. However, the implementation of simulation varies across programs, leading to inconsistent outcomes and research limitations. Furthermore, details on SP use and training are lacking in OT literature. This article aims to provide OT educators with considerations for improving simulation fidelity by effectively using highly trained SPs. For example, recruiting SPs from diverse backgrounds is necessary to improve sociological fidelity, and proper training of SPs is required to ensure psychological fidelity. This article also emphasizes the need for standardized training for SPs and recommends following the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) guidelines to ensure best practices in OT education. Adequate SP training and ongoing professional development are essential for maintaining simulation fidelity during SP experiences and optimizing student learning outcomes. Implementing SP experiences within the OT curriculum, SP recruitment and training, case development, pre-briefing, and debriefing processes are discussed, with recommendations from current evidence and the authors’ experience at an institution accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Trained SPs can enhance simulation fidelity and provide students with realistic and compelling learning experiences, better preparing them for fieldwork and clinical practice. While further research is needed to explore the efficacy of SP encounters in OT education and the student experience, this article reinforces the need to standardize the use and training of SPs to enhance simulation fidelity and support the reliability and validity of future research efforts surrounding the use of SPs.


John V. Rider, PhD, MS, OTR/L, MSCS, CEAS is an Associate Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Touro University Nevada. He is an active educator and researcher and continues to practice occupational therapy in primary care and community-based settings. He is also an American Sign Language Interpreter and Emergency Medical Technician.

Linda Frasier, OTD, OTR/L, CLT, CEAS, CAPS, SHSS is an Associate Professor and Capstone Coordinator for the School of Occupational Therapy at Touro University Nevada. She serves as a consultant for Rebuilding Together of Southern Nevada and the National Association of Home Builders and is a member of Age Safe America’s advisory panel.

Jessica Parkin, CHSOS is a Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. She has worked in healthcare simulation for over ten years. She has been with Touro University Nevada’s Michael Tang Center for Clinical Simulation since 2018 facilitating standardized patient encounters across healthcare disciplines.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.