Theatre students act in a simulated patient environment in a project with the Nursing Department

Effective, caring communication with patients, clients, and colleagues requires interpersonal and empathetic communication learned through Applied Theatre practice. At IUP, we prepare you for the creative ways theatre is emerging as a tool in interdisciplinary fields from healthcare to education.

Live-Actor Simulation and Applied Theatre

In the Simulation Performance and Applied Theatre Ensemble (SPATE), actors are trained as Simulated Patients/Participants (SPs) for a variety of roles within simulation. The use of simulation has been expanding beyond healthcare education and into nontraditional fields such as criminology or education. Roles may include performing as a patient entering hospice care for nursing students or portraying community members attending a public workshop for education students. 

Participation in the SPATE ensemble is open to all students. This ensemble counts towards practicum credits for theater majors and is a required course within the Applied Theatre and Performance Certificate. Training, as an SP provides job placement opportunities for students within regional simulation centers and expands the ways students can market an advanced acting skill set. 

We Currently Provide:

  • Nursing and Allied Health Department simulations
  • Food and Nutrition Department simulations
  • Forum simulations in psychology
  • Interdisciplinary simulations
  • Simulations to advance inter-professional behavior
  • A three-credit course in empathetic communication (Performance of Caring)
  • Trauma and crisis response large-scale simulations

“There is a change in myself that I have realized from the beginning of the semester until now. There is growth in my communication, body language, empathy, and mindfulness skills. My goal is take this information I have learned and practiced from this class and continue to use them throughout my career and life in general. These skills will help me be a better nurse that is attentive, understanding, empathetic, and kind.”

Kianna Swanson, senior nursing major, Performance of Caring