Simulation: making pharmacology 'real' to bioscience students
Traditionally, pharmacology has been taught to bioscience students through screen-based simulation applications, or discussion of case scenarios or clinical applications in lectures and workshops. However, this year, we used our simulation facilities to enact several clinical scenarios. Forty-eight bioscience students taking a Level 2 Pharmacology module were divided into 8 groups of 6 students. Eight scenarios were developed involving a total of 16 drugs. Each group studied these drugs without knowing the scenarios, so that students had to prepare information on 3 drugs each (i.e clinical use, common adverse drug reactions/side effects and drug interactions). Each group met a different patient as part of a ‘Ward Round’ in which they played the role of Clinical Pharmacologists, while the other groups remotely observed. Each group’s scenario was followed by a short debriefing. The session itself was not assessed, but the students later prepared an assessed group presentation on their scenario. The students completed a questionnaire before and after the session. Before the session, 66.7% were looking forward to the session, and 58% were apprehensive about performing badly in front of their peers. Following the session, about 50% found the debriefing useful; 66.7% enjoyed the simulation session; 75% said their clinical knowledge was improved; 58% thought simulation training should be available to all pharmacology students; and of those that responded to the question about how many times a year such a session should be repeated, 54% of the students said from 2 – 20 times a year. It is concluded that this was a valuable experience for our pharmacology students and it will be developed and improved in future years.