Healthcare Role-Play:

Hospital Committee, The


Irma Tyler-Wood and Bruce Patton

Multi-party negotiation among hospital committee members over the allocation of scarce life-saving resources


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


A hospital located in a small town has a serious dilemma: the facility only has two dialysis machines which are now in demand by seven community residents with kidney failure. The patients include: a 33 year-old professional athlete, a middle-aged housewife and mother, a male model in his fifties, a 28 year-old factory worker, a corporate executive in his thirties, a child prodigy, and a middle-aged orthopedic surgeon. Without treatment, each patient will die, but only three patients can use the available machines. The machines are extremely expensive, and money to buy a third, let alone a fourth, is simply unavailable at this time. Accommodating more patients for fewer hours subjects each patient to substantially greater risk, and can postpone a choice for no longer than a week or two. The members of the Kidney Dialysis Committee are members of the community who have been asked to serve by the hospital administration. They have been given information about each patient, and have been asked to decide, confidentially, who will and who won't receive treatment.



The exercise works best in a group of three to five; seven is a maximum. Discussion time can range from 10 to 60 minutes depending on the objective, but 10-15 minutes is usual. Videotaping is recommended to illuminate nonverbal behavior. The exercise can be done before the camera and reviewed in front of the full class. (This makes most sense in a small class where everyone is doing an exercise like this, and where participation is voluntary).



  • This exercise can be used for a number of purposes. It was originally designed to explore psychological awareness and illustrate emotional reactions and nonverbal communication.
  • The intensity of the psychological dimension adds considerable power to struggles over group process and control.
  • Substantively, the case brings into high relief the question of what constitutes "fairness," "objective criteria," and societal "norms," and the extent to which those concepts can exist outside perceptions colored by our personal values. In response, some participants can be seen to search for refuge in some absolute standard, while others seem to construct some kind of calculus of partisan perceptions and consensus.



For all parties:

  • General Information


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above



Closure; Commitment; Communication; Cost-benefit analysis; Delay tactics; Emotions; Ethics; Fairness; Group process; Interpersonal skills; Legitimacy; Nonverbal communication; Objective criteria; Personality; Psychological games; Separating the people from the problem

Hospital Committee, The Attributes

Time required: 30 minutes - 1 hour
Number of participants: 3
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: No