It was Michelle Castine’s first time ever performing Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS).
Fortunately, the third-year pharmacy student from Chapin, S.C., had professors by her side. And, fortunately, Castine’s “patient” wasn’t real. It was a SimMan, or patient simulator that is often used in pharmacy schools.
“The scenario was stressful as it would be in a real-life situation,” Castine said.
“However, I would much rather practice in a simulation setting repeatedly, and frankly as many times as I need to, so I can feel more comfortable and confident in my abilities in order to be prepared in a real-life situation.”
Putting Skills to the Test
Castine and all third-year students practiced providing treatment to the SimMan and staff members portraying patients during SimMan Week.
“As our P3 students start learning more direct patient care, their rotations also increase in complexity and independence,” said Dr. Mary Douglass Smith, interim assistant dean of student affairs and director of experiential education at the PC School of Pharmacy.
“To prepare them for this, we have them on campus for a one-week rotation in which they encounter many different scenarios in both the outpatient and inpatient settings.”
Throughout the week, P3’s found themselves in different scenarios involving patients. Students performed activities including:
- interviewing and collecting information about patients
- formulating treatment plans
- presenting patients in “rounds” to physicians
- counseling patients on medication use
In one of the scenarios, the patient, or SimMan, has an unexpected change in heart rhythm, and students must go into action performing ACLS and determining treatment options on the fly, according to Smith.
A preceptor, co-preceptor, and students serving on Academic APPE (Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences) rotations evaluated P3’s during SimMan Week. Preceptors and the APPE students debriefed the third-year students after each scenario.
“If they missed things or had incorrect information, we corrected it then so they know how to improve next time,” Smith said.
When Learning Comes Together
According to Castine, SimMan Week is good practice to prepare students for what they may face later in hospital settings.
“While SimMan week was stressful, it was also a very rewarding experience to see all of the PCSP curriculum I’ve gone through up to this point come together,” she said.
“I am very thankful I had such an amazing team where we could all communicate clearly and responded to the situation accordingly.”
If you want to learn more about the PC School of Pharmacy, please email or call 864-938-3909.