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Simulation based education: beyond the manikin….but not the person

School of Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Sciences

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Prof Gerry Gormley , Dr J Johnston No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This educational PhD provides an exciting opportunity to investigate the representation of patients, and their illness experiences, in simulation based educational (SBE) frameworks. SBE aims to have a transformative impact on learners in providing competent and compassionate healthcare. We often work with simulated patients (SPs) in SBE to represent real patients, and their experiences. However an inherent risk in manikin/SP based SBE is that actual patients’ voices, and their lifeworld experiences, may be lost or devalued in the process. The overall purpose of this project is to explore how best patients, and their experiences of illness/ healthcare, are best represented in SBE frameworks.

Work plan for PhD
Supervision of this study will draw upon experts in health profession educational research.

Year 1
• Exploration of the literature around SBE, patienthood and SPs
• Problematization of research topic
• Development of research question
• Formal literature review
• Selection of appropriate research methodologies. It is likely that this project will draw upon modes of enquiry from the social sciences
• Development of study protocol and seeking ethical / governance approval
Year 2 - 3
• Field work, data capture and concurrent analysis
• Thesis write up (also to occur throughout the PhD period)
• Time will also be considered for research paper preparation/dissemination.


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU

Funding Notes

*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE) Award*

Eligibility for both fees (£4,195 for 2017/18) and maintenance (£14,553 for 2017/18) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link:
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