Home Volume: 3, Issue: Supplement 1
International Journal of Healthcare Simulation
A11An evaluation of student views on the use of virtual simulation in undergraduate pharmacy education

https://doi.org/10.54531/MNGO4706, Volume: 3, Issue: Supplement 1, Pages: A8-A8
Article Type: Original Research, Article History

Table of Contents


Background and aim:

In part due motivated by a lack of in-person placement opportunities for undergraduate pharmacy students during the COVID-19 pandemic, a UK university teaching team developed a programme of virtual simulated placement-style events to support undergraduate pharmacy students in developing skills and experience to support them in engaging with their foundation training. These experiences were developed at a time of significant change for undergraduate pharmacy training, as all new pharmacists being annotated as independent prescribers at the point of registration from 2026 onwards [1]. It has been reported that in medical students, the use of virtual patient simulation could improve clinical reasoning skills [2] but evidence of student views on the acceptability and implementation of virtual simulation in the target audience is limited and frequently not reflective of the style of self-directed simulation being utilized. This work aimed to evaluate final-year undergraduate pharmacy student views of the impact of the introduction of a programme of student-led virtual simulation on their education.


In academic years 2020–2021 and 2021–2022, an electronic questionnaire was distributed to final-year students who had recently been introduced to and given access to a range of student-led virtual placement experiences in academic years. Prior to administering questionnaires to students, the study was approved by the relevant school research ethics committee. Questionnaires were formed of a mixture of qualitative and quantitative questions, and asked students about their experiences of engagement with virtual simulation and views on the potential applications of virtual simulation in the curriculum. Quantitative data were analysed by simple descriptive statistics, and a critical review of free-text responses was performed through grounded theory to identify emergent key themes.


A total of 43 student questionnaires were collected, with 18 responses (41.9%) being received in the academic year 2020–2021 and 25 responses (58.1%) received in the academic year 2022. 88.4% of respondents agreed that the introduction of virtual simulation would enhance their educational experience. Four key themes emerged from qualitative data analysis: individuality and autonomy, convenience, immediacy, and control. Students most commonly believed that the second year of the 4-year Master of Pharmacy programme is the optimal time for the introduction of placement-style virtually simulated experiences.


Final-year undergraduate pharmacy students believed that the introduction of a programme of student-led virtual simulation would enhance their educational experience. Students were found to value the convenience, control and autonomy of the introduction of student-led virtual simulation.

Ethics statement:

Authors confirm that all relevant ethical standards for research conduct and dissemination have been met. The submitting author confirms that relevant ethical approval was granted, if applicable.

Davies: A11An evaluation of student views on the use of virtual simulation in undergraduate pharmacy education


1. General Pharmaceutical Council. Standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists. 2021. Available from: https://www.pharmacyregulation.org/sites/default/files/document/standards-for-the-initial-education-and-training-of-pharmacists-january-2021_1.pdf [Accessed 24 April 2023].

2. Plackett R, Kassianos A, Mylan S, Kambouri M, Raine R, Sheringham J. The effectiveness of using virtual patient educational tools to improve medical students’ clinical reasoning skills: a systematic review. BMC Medical Education. 2022;22:365.