RESEARCH ARTICLE: Measuring the educational benefits of using a virtual patient to practice pharmacist-patient consultations
Keywords:counselling, education, pharmacist, simulation, virtual patient
Objective: Virtual patients (VPs) are a method of simulating clinical practice however little is known about their use by healthcare professionals. This study explores if, and how, one VP is educationally beneficial for pharmacists and pre-registration trainees to teach non-vitamin K oral anticoagulant (NOAC) patient counselling.
Method: The evaluation used a before and after questionnaire measuring self-perceived counselling ability; further questions considered the outcomes of VP use. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics; ethical approval was granted by Keele University.
Results: There was an average improvement in the user’s (n=94) self-perceived ability to conduct NOAC counselling (+10.2%). Although, there was variation in educational outcomes with changes in both knowledge and confidence reported. Some reported a decreased ability, but they were still positive towards the VP as it may have had a regulatory effect.
Conclusion: Most users perceived multiple benefits of use; more generic outcomes related to counselling skills were also reported.
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