Thompson, Jessica (2018) Clinical simulations using virtual patient avatars for pre-registration pharmacist training: a mixed methods evaluation. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Virtual patients (VPs) are routinely used in the training of medicine and nursing professionals but uptake into pharmacy has been slower. The pharmacy pre-registration training year takes place in the workplace and a disparity in the perceptions of support provided and the pre-registration examination pass rates has been established between the training sectors. This programme of work aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual patients (VPs) at supporting pre-registration training when compared to a non-interactive (NI) learning tool. Following institutional ethical approval, a mixed methods approach was adopted to evaluate the VP technology. A purposive sample of 165 pre-registration trainees (2014-2015) who were completing their training in a UK-based community or hospital pharmacy were recruited. Participants were randomly stratified to receive three VP or NI case studies. Knowledge surrounding the case studies was assessed using a quasi-experimental evaluation and thoughts on the two learning tools were obtained and compared via questionnaires and semi-structured telephone interviews. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics and qualitative data was analysed using content analysis (questionnaire) and framework analysis (interviews).No significant differences in knowledge improvement between pre-registration trainees in the VP and NI groups were obtained. Significant improvements in knowledge were found between the sectors of training for the three case studies. Pre-registration trainees reported that the VP enabled them to apply their learning and engage in experiential learning. The VP case studies were associated with greater satisfaction and were reported to provide a more realistic, interactive and enjoyable learning experience. Pre-registration trainee’s perspectives of the VP technology as a learning tool were more favourable regarding the development of real-life complex skills and aspects of learning, which provides a remit for further evaluation of the technology in undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy training.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Pharmacy
Contributors: Chapman, SR (Thesis advisor)
White, S (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 10:55
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2020 08:25

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