Confederates in health care simulations: Not as simple as it seems

Debra Nestel, Bonnie L. Mobley, Elizabeth A. Hunt, Walter J. Eppich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Confederates often enrich immersive health care simulations. In this commentary, we raise issues for consideration when working with confederates. We define the term "confederate," describe their purpose, scope of practice, commonly encountered challenges for participants and confederates, and make recommendations for practice. We posit that Simulated (Standardized) Patient methodology offers valuable insights to working with confederates. A systematic approach to training for role portrayal drawn from Simulated (Standardized) Patient methodology is likely to improve confederate portrayal. Although the inclusion of confederates in simulations might seem simple enough, there are many considerations to ensure educational or research goals are achieved and confederates unharmed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-616
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Simulation in Nursing
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2014


  • Confederate
  • Embedded actor
  • Immersive simulations
  • Scenario design
  • Simulated health care professional
  • Simulated patient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Education
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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