An Introductory Over-the-Counter Simulation for First-Year Pharmacy Students Using a Virtual Pharmacy

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Objective. First-year pharmacy students at two institutions were required to complete a virtual over-the-counter (OTC) simulation during their community pharmacy practice skills laboratory course. The simulation was designed to introduce first-year pharmacy students to OTC product selection and consultation prior to didactic coursework and community introductory pharmacy practice experiences. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of the OTC simulation on students’ knowledge and confidence of OTC medications and overall perceptions of the activity.

Methods. Patient simulation cases in the virtual community pharmacy setting were developed and delivered to students using the MyDispense platform. Students concurrently completed a Google Form that provided directions for the virtual activity, including a combination of didactic and active learning strategies within the online platform. Student surveys assessed knowledge and confidence before and after the activity, with perceptions added to the postsurvey.

Results. Total knowledge scores for the 142 students from two institutions who completed both the pre- and postsurvey significantly improved and, when assessed individually, improved for seven out of 10 individual knowledge questions. All five confidence statements significantly increased after students completed the OTC simulation. Student perceptions were overall very positive.

Conclusion. Introduction of OTC counseling processes to first-year pharmacy students through a virtual pharmacy simulation resulted in increased student knowledge and confidence in providing OTC recommendations. Students perceived the activity favorably.



Submitted October 27, 2021; accepted March 17, 2022; published February 2023

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