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Antiviral Pharmacology: A Standardized Patient Case for Preclinical Medical Students

  • Jones, Michael K.
  • Gupta, Karisma R.
  • Peters, Timothy R.
  • Beardsley, James R.
  • Jackson, Jennifer M.
Published Article
MedEdPORTAL : the Journal of Teaching and Learning Resources
Association of American Medical Colleges
Publication Date
Apr 26, 2022
DOI: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.11242
PMID: 35539004
PMCID: PMC9038986
PubMed Central
  • Original Publication


Introduction Pharmacology is an important learning topic in preclinical medical education. Simulated patient encounters allow students to apply basic science knowledge in a clinical setting and have been useful in previous studies of pharmacology education. We developed a standardized patient (SP) encounter to reinforce antiviral pharmacology content for first-year medical students. Methods Students were instructed to recommend a medication for shingles during an SP encounter and to answer questions from the SP on mechanism of action and adverse effects. Students then attended a large-group debrief session. Following the activity, students evaluated the exercise through a voluntary survey. For knowledge assessment, students were randomized into two groups to complete three multiple-choice questions either before or after the learning activity. Results In 2020 and 2021, 144 and 145 students, respectively, participated. In 2020, there was no significant difference in the proportion of correct answers between the pre- and postsimulation groups ( p > .05). In 2021, the postsimulation group significantly outperformed the presimulation group in knowledge of mechanism of action ( p < .01) and adverse effects ( p < .01), but no difference was seen between the groups regarding medication selection ( p = .27). Most learners assessed the instructional design as effective for the tasks assigned. Discussion This SP activity provided an opportunity for early medical students to practice integrating antiviral pharmacology knowledge into a patient encounter and was well received by learners. The instructional method offers a clinically relevant approach for reinforcing pharmacology knowledge for preclinical medical students.

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