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Located in the newly renovated Robert Blackwell Smith Building, the VCU School of Pharmacy employs simulation in the teaching of acute and ambulatory care. The school uses high-fidelity patient simulators to demonstrate the physiological effects that occur when medications are administered to patients.

Simulation brings pharmacology to life. In place of attending a lecture or reading a text book, students work in teams to identify a medication-related problem. Once the team collaborates on the cases, students can select a treatment plan for their patient. Faculty and practitioners then manipulate the patient simulator so the students see the physiologic response of the medication, dose and route of administration chosen for their patient. Student pharmacists can safely practice physical assessment skills, patient counseling and calculations; monitor vital signs; evaluate lab values; and utilize drug references. This environment offers student pharmacists an introduction to and practice within acute-care settings prior to their experiential education rotations.

Within the School of Pharmacy, simulation exercises are often undertaken by five or six students at a time within the Foundations of Pharmacy practice labs. For interprofessional exercises, the school takes advantage of the larger simulation facilities at the nearby VCU School of Nursing or School of Medicine. In later years, students who are on acute and ambulatory care rotations are sent on interdisciplinary simulations with medical and nursing students to perform the role of pharmacist on a patient-care team.

For more information, visit the School of Pharmacy website.