5 Ways Simulation Enhances Pharm Tech Education

Pharm tech student in simulation setting

1. Simulation is a better way to teach. Rather than sit in a lecture hall with 100 other students, giving pharm tech students access to simulated medications teaches them what meds look like and how they are dispensed. A realistic teaching suite will include a dispensary, patient consulting rooms, an electronic medical records (EMR) system, and shelves of product. In hospital settings, pharm techs will stock medicine cabinets and carts, and use software to report on inventory levels.

2. A simulation environment is collaborative. Students work on teams toward a common goal, just as they will when they enter the workforce in a pharmacy setting. Pharmacists and pharm techs need to learn how to clearly communicate, not only with patients, but with each other.

3. Simulation boosts student confidence. Once students have learned what they need to from the books, it’s time for hands-on learning. Handling simulated pills, capsules, and vials, stocking shelves, and dispensing prescriptions in a classroom scenario gives students the feel for clinical applications. Instructors can show how to reconcile, order, fill, and administer medication while also demonstrating how to ensure patient safety.

4. Simulation will be part of certification by 2020. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) will require candidates for initial PTCB certification to successfully complete an American Society of Health-System-accredited education program. ASHP-accredited programs include a well-balanced curriculum with lecture, experiential, and simulated-laboratory hours as well as inventory, dispensing, compounding, packaging, and medication safety experience. (Source)

Simulation laboratories fulfill ASHP and PTCB requirements by offering environments that include clinical supplies and equipment. Instructors use these labs to teach, observe, and evaluate their students as they perform sequences of learned skills using real-world technology and simulated medications.

5. Simulation lets students practice engaging with patients. The roles of pharmacists and pharm techs are changing. Pharmacies are increasingly offering more patient-facing services and interactions, such as advising patients on minor illnesses and healthy lifestyles, and providing flu vaccinations. Whether a pharm tech program decides to use a manikin or standardized patients, applying simulated scenarios lets students learn without putting anyone at risk.

Pocket Nurse® supplies everything instructors need to create authentic simulation laboratories. Pocket Nurse’s proprietary Demo Dose® line includes vials, injectable medications, compounding supplies, and ampules. Other accessories include labeling software, chemotherapy and intravenous supplies, and simulated EMR software, making Pocket Nurse an industry leader in pharmacy education.

Pharm tech educational programs can provide a complete, closed loop for teaching medication management. Educate students how to follow it with carts, cabinets, EMR, and simulated medication from Pocket Nurse, Omnicell, MedDispense, and KbPort™. Teach students how to prevent medication errors through all phases of the medication management process with Pocket Nurse solutions.

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