Involvement Opportunity: Consumer Representatives for Interactive Healthcare Simulator


Evaluating a novel online interactive simulation platform for Western Australian healthcare training

Can a computer game like Minecraft or Fortnite help health professionals provide high quality care? Researchers from Curtin University, UWA and the University of Tasmania are exploring how Pharmacy Simulator, an online ‘serious game’, can help health students and professionals practise important skills needed to care for patients in hospital.


About the project:

Simulation allows healthcare students and health professionals to work through real life scenarios in a safe environment to learn what they do well and ‘not so well’. Previous studies have shown that simulation is very helpful in preparing learners to work effectively in a complex healthcare system.

Pharmacy Simulator has been used as an online serious gaming platform, a bit like Minecraft or Fortnite, to support pharmacy students learning to practise in community pharmacies. Serious gaming uses storytelling scenarios for non-entertainment game based training.

This project will expand the use of Pharmacy Simulator to other healthcare students and health professionals (nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and speech pathologists) to support the development of the skills needed for effective communication, high-quality patient care in complex situations and patient safety in hospitals. The research team, involving members from Curtin University, the University of Western Australia and the University of Tasmania, aims to develop and test a number of simulated patient scenarios in both students and health professionals to determine whether Pharmacy Simulator is an effective, efficient and cost-effective tool to better prepare students and health professionals for complex real world practice.

About the opportunity:

We are inviting 12 people with a lived experiences of being admitted to, and discharged from, a hospital in Western Australia, or your carers, to assist us to create simulation scenarios sensitive to your perspectives and needs. We are particularly interested in talking with people and carers with lived experiences of traumatic brain injury (also called ‘head injury’), Parkinson’s disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What am I expected to do?

We would like you to be in involved in three meetings (with some ‘homework’ in between) to inform the development of the scenarios. Each meeting will be no more than 1 hour, with approximately 30 min of reading/preparation in between meetings:

  • Meeting 1 to give background and outline the guidance and direction we seek
  • Meeting 2 (1-2 weeks later) to allow feedback and guidance about the possible scenarios
  • Meeting 3 after the scripts for the scenarios have been developed to decide on any possible changes

You will also be invited to ‘play through’ the scenarios using the online platform as part of the pilot testing stage in July/August 2021 (you should be able to do this on your computer at home) and then participate in a group discussion to refine the final scenarios.

What skills or experience do I need?

While we are particularly interested in talking with people and carers with traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and COPD, you do not have to have this experience to be involved. We are seeking to involve people who have had experiences in hospital when your health professionals acted in ways that really improved your care, or when you felt that they could have done better. These situations could be related to issues such as:

  • the health professionals’ communication style,
  • the way that they handled difficult situations (especially if these related to mental health problems, or alcohol or drug issues), and
  • how aware they were of your cultural needs, and how they responded to these needs.

Ideally, you will need the ability to access the game on a personal computer when it is time to test it.

How long am I expected to be involved?

Your involvement would last from February/March to July/August 2021.

Where will meetings be held?

Meetings will be based at Curtin University’s Bentley campus but you can join remotely via telephone or the internet if that is more convenient.

What support is offered?

An honorarium payment of $35 per hour will be provided. The Consumer and Community Involvement Program also offers support and training to consumers and community members.

How to apply:

If you would like to apply for this opportunity please follow the link to the application form:

Alternatively, email us  your name, contact details and a brief statement about your lived experience or interest in this area of research. You can also call us on (08) 6151 1071.