Developing Simulated Learning Experiences

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Pharmacology Simulation
by Dina Schreader - Thursday, April 29, 2010, 2:49 PM

Has anyone integrated simulation with a pharmacology class?  I am looking for any ideas and didn't know if someone has already tried this.

Thanks in advance,

Dina Schreader, MSN, APN-BC

Lewis University

Picture of Kari Congenie
Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Kari Congenie - Thursday, April 29, 2010, 3:55 PM

We don't have one specifically for that class, however we have incorporated medication indication, calculation, administration, and education into regular scenarios. Specifically, we have a post op CABG complicated by afib where the student needs to give Cardizem IVP. Since it is mg/kg, they have to calculate the correct dose as well as amount drawn up based on how it is supplied by pharmacy. We ask the amounts as well as the push rate. It has been a proven learning experience for the students.

Also, almost without fail, students right away want to go to the Nitrostat prn for chest pain when Sim Man complains of chest pain. They learn the importance of assessing pain thoroughly to understand the type of pain the patient is experiencing. They learn that it's incisional pain (in the chest incision/chest tube) not actual "chest pain". They also see how giving Nitrostat for chest pain prior to Cardizem for the afib patient could cause detrimental consequences. The Nitro drives the BP down below 100 (initial scenario sbp is low 100s) and the student is unable to give the Cardizem. The Cardizem is the priority drug for the rate  plus the patient has more of an incisional pain.

Hope that helps.

Picture of Audrey Jones
Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Audrey Jones - Monday, July 26, 2010, 8:26 AM
I have not done a pharmacology simulation yet, but have an article that may be of interest to you.  Thompson, T. & Bonnell, W. (2008). Integration of high-fidelity patient simulation in an undergraduate pharmacology course. Journal of Nursing Education, 47 (11), pp. 518 - 521.
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Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Dina Schreader - Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 5:25 PM
Great!  Thanks.  I will look that up!
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Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Sharon Solomon - Monday, August 27, 2012, 11:57 AM
Thanks for the article I will look it up. I am trying to increase the amount of Pharmacology we use in the lab for simulation.
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Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by LaTashia Tittle - Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 7:25 PM


Were you able to integrate simulation with pharmacology? I realize that I am looking at an old post,but this is exactly what I am wanting to do. If your pharmacology simulation was a success, would you mine sharing it with me to tweak as a template for my students?

If there are any other suggestions for a Pharmacology simulation, please feel free to share. I can use all the help and support (I am new to simulation). Please send any ideas to the email address below.

Thank You in advance,


Picture of Annette Mihelic
Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Annette Mihelic - Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 12:00 PM

I am interested if anyone has pharmacology simulations. I am also looking for ideas for fundamentals & med/surg.

Thank You,

Annette RN, BSN
Picture of vickie valenziano
Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by vickie valenziano - Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 5:26 PM

I do one with second semester RN students based on an actual hospital situation.  Students receive report that the patient isn't responding as they should to treatment and meds (make the diagnosis and meds appropriate to your curriculum content).  CNA comes out of the room and states he found a bag of pills in the patients bedside stand.  Have students look up what the pills are using various pill identifier websites.  (I give them a med sheet with much of the info filled in except name of drug and use or side effects).  Then, one student interviews the patient (both student and patient have scripts prior to sim to follow so responses are planned).  The goal is that the patient verbalizes he/she doesnt know what some of the meds are for, says she takes them for one thing but they really are for another, etc.  Then, the fun part is, based on the medications the patient is taking, develop a patient profile (age, diagnosis, history, etc.)  Several outcomes I have seen, other than the obvious ones, are the students are amazed at the amount of knowledge they have and they like being creative when developing their patients.  They delve into psycho-social, throw in family variables, etc.

Depending on the time frame, after we give the patient a diagnosis and history, I have them write the MD orders.  This makes them apply knowledge about how frequently should vitals be done, what type of diet would this patient have, activity, consults...

This is one they all say was valuable and fun!!

Vickie Valenziano

Simulation Lab Coordinator

Cuesta College

San Luis Obispo, California

Picture of Angela Goodridge
Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Angela Goodridge - Thursday, January 31, 2013, 11:41 AM
I have developed a simulation for our Pharmacology of Nursing Class. I wrote out medication records for the students. The records contain a diagnosis, age, weight and 4-6 medications with all different routes, and a few discrepancies. Students come into the lab and give their patient the medications listed on the MAR. We get 6-8 students into the lab and two instructors who will walk around and ask questions and guide students if necessary.

The objective is that the students will be able to:
Safely administer medications prescribed for the patients using the skills demonstrated in the class labs.
Communicate effectively with the MD, Pharmacy or the Nursing Staff about their findings.
Provide patient education on the medications they administer.

Flow of the Simulation:
The students are given the medication records ahead of time so they can look up the medications.
They come to simulation with their completed assignment (passport). Students are provided with a blank physician’s order form and the MAR so they can document the medications given.
They come into the simulated environment, and are given a patient and a report of the patient.
They pull medications, administer the medications.
Provide patient education before or after the medication pass.
Correctly document the medications given.
Call the doctor for any discrepancies
Call the pharmacy if necessary
Speak with the charge nurse if necessary.

An evaluation is done using a point system
Debriefing is done after the simulation activity.
Email me at if you need more information. I will be happy to share.
Picture of Linda shubert
Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Linda shubert - Friday, February 1, 2013, 2:04 PM

We also do a Pharm simulations at each level.

For soph, Pharm I there are 3 "mini-sims" culminating in a final simulation similar to the one Angela describes.


* oral, topical, sublinqual, NGT/PEG administration

* IV

* Parenterals

Stations/Charts developed that have meds that will cover ea of the mini sims.  Students rotate through ea station.  Instructors rove during mini labs, no grading.

The formal /final pharm sim is graded, we have a rubric developed I would be happy to share.

For Pharm II, we have a medication discharge teaching for Lovenox simulation.

For Pharm III, we use an unfolding simulation with first exposure a pt with hypoglycemic episode, second exposure diabetic teaching.

Linda Shubert

Picture of Amy Hamilton
Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Amy Hamilton - Monday, November 4, 2013, 4:06 PM
I would love to see your rubric if you don't mind. I am in the process of developing a simulation specifically for Pharm. My email is
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Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Brooke Temby - Thursday, September 25, 2014, 2:39 PM

I would also appreciate a copy of what you have done. I am new to teaching pharmacology and simulation and teach in a practical nursing program.



Brooke M Temby, MSN.Ed, MBA, RN

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Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by bonita kershaw - Tuesday, December 23, 2014, 9:33 AM

Would love a copy of your simulation. Thank you

Bonita Kershaw

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Re: Pharmacology Simulation
by Pamela Herrera-Oshaben - Monday, October 13, 2014, 4:51 PM

Would love of copy of your medication simulation.  My email is  Thanks you!