A virtual practice environment to develop communication skills in pharmacy students

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Objective. To develop communication skills in second-year pharmacy students using a virtual practice environment (VPE) and to assess students and tutors (instructors ) experiences. Design. A VPE capable of displaying life-sized photographic and video images and representing a pharmacy setting was constructed. Students viewed prescriptions and practiced role-playing with each other and explored the use of nonverbal communication in patient-pharmacist interactions. The VPE experiences were complemented with lectures, reflective journaling, language and learning support, and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs). Assessment. Most students believed the VPE was a useful teaching resource (87 ) and agreed that the video component enabled them to contextualize patient problems (73 ). While 45 of students questioned the usefulness of watching the role plays between students after they were video recorded, most (90 ) identified improvement in their own communication as a result of participating in the tutorials. Most tutors felt comfortable using the technology. Focus group participants found the mod-ified tutorials more engaging and aesthetically positive than in their previous experience. Conclusion. The VPE provided an effective context for communication skills development classes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number202
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2012

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