Use of high-fidelity simulation manikins to teach pharmacology to pharmacy undergraduates

Julie Mason, Sumaiyah Ali, Christine Hirsch, Jamie Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractpeer-review


Background: Principles of pharmacology form the basis of many healthcare professional undergraduate curricula. They are essential for pharmacists who need this knowledge to inform their practice. Pharmacology has traditionally been taught using a didactic approach. High-fidelity simulation manikins are commonly used to train healthcare professionals but there are limited reports of use in pharmacy training or to reinforce principles of pharmacology. This feasibility study examined the use of a high-fidelity simulation manikin (SimMan3G) to support the teaching of pharmacology to pharmacy students. Summary of work: The undergraduate pharmacy curriculum was reviewed alongside the SimMan3G capabilities in order to identify pharmacological concepts suitable for simulation. A scenario template was developed to deliver defined learning objectives. A total of 24 pharmacy students (years 2 and 3 of a four year programme) participated in a SimMan3G simulation centred on opioid analgesia and management of overdose with reference to the theories of receptor pharmacology. All students had received underpinning lecture-based introductions to these concepts as part of their existing curriculum. Student knowledge was determined with a 12 question pre- and post-session test based on the learning objectives. Pre- and post-test scores were analysed using a paired t-test. The session was evaluated by all participants. Summary of results: Average scores for pre- and post-session tests were 52% and 90% respectively demonstrating a mean overall improvement of 38% (p<0.01). In particular, knowledge of the monitoring parameters for and physiological signs of opioid overdose improved by 25% and 57% respectively. All participants agreed that simulation using a high-fidelity manikin was a useful addition to teaching and made subject matter more interesting. Regarding basic pharmacology, 100% of participants felt that the simulation aided knowledge application and 96% felt that it would help them retain this knowledge. Discussion and conclusions: This study demonstrates the feasibility of using high-fidelity simulation manikins to reinforce the concepts of pharmacology to undergraduate healthcare professionals. Manikin-based simulation was well received and improved student’s short-term knowledge of pharmacotherapeutics. The practical application of knowledge and interactive learning improved understanding and stimulated student interest. Further scenarios will be developed and future work will look to confirm these pilot findings and assess long-term knowledge retention. Currently, healthcare professionals may encounter high-fidelity manikin-based simulation as part of a post-graduate multidisciplinary team to develop clinical decision making and communication. We recommend that it should be introduced earlier, in the undergraduate programmes, to demonstrate pharmacotherapeutic principles and reinforce traditional lecture-based learning.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberO25
JournalBMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
EventAssociation for Simulated Practice in Healthcare 9th Annual Conference - Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, Southport, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Nov 201815 Nov 2018


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