The use of simulation in an MPharm undergraduate course in a new school of pharmacy

Andrzej Kostrzewski, Marjorie Brodie, Krishna Patel, Guillaume Alinier

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


The University of Hertfordshire School of Pharmacy opened in 2005 offering a 4-year degree which includes simulation teaching for all years. This teaching approach has been reported to improve clinical skills and high levels of satisfaction amongst pharmacy students1. A recent study of final year undergraduate medical students explored the features of simulation-based teaching, using a mannequin in comparison to those listed in a Systematic Review2. There is lack of such data for pharmacy students, therefore this study aims to explore the views of undergraduate pharmacists on the use of a patient simulator.
Review the use of simulation in the MPharm programme.
Explore the attitudes of second year undergraduates to the use of simulation teaching.
A content analysis of the MPharm programme categorised the type of simulation teaching used and provided an estimate of the time each student spent in simulation learning.
To explore attitudes, a previously designed self-administered questionnaire was used on a purposive sample of second year students. All students (n=129) undertake a Pharmacology & Therapeutics module; which involves a simulated hospital Ward Round. A clinical pharmacologist or pharmacist acts as the consultant and the drugs prescribed are discussed. Prior to attending the Ward round each student should undertake background reading.
The questionnaire contained 45 statements, and was subdivided into five sections, using a five-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly agree).
The programme includes simulation from Years 1 to 4. Simulations are used to teach: patient management problems, patient assessment, diagnosis, counselling, and communication skills. The mode of delivery can be student-led or trainer-led using pen and paper simulations, mannequins, standardized patients or simulated patients (role play) and computer controlled patient simulators3. Each student undertakes 30, 24, 84 and 48 hours of simulated teaching at years 1 to 4 respectively.
The attitudinal survey was completed by 85 students (66% response). The key results were:
General views:
Students were positive about this method of learning and agreed with statements indicating simulation will improve their knowledge and skills (=4.2±1.0).
Familiarisation period:
Prior to the simulation event, students showed a tendency to agree that more time could be used for the familiarisation with the patient simulator (=3.7±1.1).
Simulation session:
Students agreed the scenarios were realistic (=4.1±1.1) and they did not agree that the video or peers affected their performance (=2.7±1.2).
Debriefing session:
Students agreed that the session illustrated important behavioural aspects, was handled well and improved technical knowledge (=3.9±0.9) and skills (=4.2±0.8).
Opinion on simulation training:
Students also agreed that they learned from watching others and enjoyed the course (=4.1±0.9).
The MPharm course uses different simulation learning activities. Second year students have very positive attitudes to using mannequins as a method of learning. Familiarisation of students to this form of learning needs to be address
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventInaugural Conference of the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare - Newcastle, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Nov 201017 Nov 2010


ConferenceInaugural Conference of the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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