SHORT REPORT: Use of a real-time virtual patient simulation for interprofessional distance education: A pilot study




Interprofessional Education, Nursing student, Pharmacy student, Real-time simulation, Virtual patient


Objective: To evaluate the use of cloud-based virtual patients as a tool for engagement in interprofessional distance education (IPDE).

Methods: Five pairs of final-year pharmacy and final-year nursing students interacted with an autonomous, real-time, cloud-based virtual patient (VP). They were debriefed after completion of their case and completed a questionnaire on the relevance of the VP to core IPE competencies.

Results: The virtual patient approach was considered to be able to cover 25 of the 39 core IPE competencies. From a thematic analysis, there was evidence of students learning from, with, and about each other.

Conclusions: The use of cloud-based autonomous VPs could be a successful tool for IPE.

Author Biographies

Paul Burmeister, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

School of Pharmacy

Gabrielle Isaacs, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

School of Pharmacy

Bronwen Griffiths, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

School of Pharmacy

Lanxinning Mo, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

School of Pharmacy

Jordan Chin, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

School of Pharmacy

Cate McCall, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand

Lecturer - Centre for Post Graduate Nursing Studies

Stephen Duffull, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy


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Duffull, S., Peterson, A., Chai, B., Cho, F., Opoku, J., Sissing, T., Smith, D., Tongskul, T., & Wilby K. (2020). Exploring a scalable real-time simulation for interprofessional education in pharmacy and medicine. MedEdPublish.

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Short Report