Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Incorporating Standardized Colleague Simulations in a Clinical Assessment Course and Evaluating the Impact on Interprofessional Communication

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Incorporating Standardized Colleague Simulations in a Clinical Assessment Course and Evaluating the Impact on Interprofessional Communication

Article excerpt


Interprofessional education (IPE) and practice are strategies to achieve the goals of effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable health care. (1) Poor interprofessional communication is linked to medical errors. (2-4) Future health professionals will be required to work together in interprofessional teams; therefore, IPE is included in the curriculum of health professions as a core component of their education. (5,6) The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), in addition to several other national health professions associations in the fields of nursing, medicine, and public health, are committed to continued collaboration, expansion of leadership initiatives, member engagement, and attention to sustainability related to IPE and practice. (6-8)

Students should be prepared to work in interprofessional teams by being actively engaged in collaboration and learning with other health professionals. (9-11) Interprofessional educational strategies are effective when realistic patient care scenarios are presented and accurately reflect the professional role of each participant. (10-12) To this end, high-fidelity simulations using human-patient simulators and standardized patients have been developed to deliver clinically realistic scenarios in a controlled learning environment. Simulations are an effective educational tool to expose students to a situation that could vary widely during practice experiences. (13-16) Limited published information is available regarding standardized colleague simulations as an effective educational method to teach communication skills. (17-19)

A traditional simulation incorporates a standardized patient who presents with the need for a medical intervention; the standardized colleague represents a health care provider who receives information/recommendations from another health care professional (in this case a pharmacy student). A standardized colleague simulation role can include an interprofessional health care provider or another pharmacist. Standardized colleagues interact with students in a simulated health care environment to foster interprofessional communication by engaging in dialogue and responding to students in a standardized manner. They also provide feedback on student behaviors from the perspective of the health care professional they portray. Use of the standardized colleague model is beneficial as an introductory experience to interprofessional communication, but additional activities with real health professions students should also be incorporated into the curriculum. When interprofessional student groups communicate early in their training, the majority may simply accept recommendations, and conflicts may not arise. The standardized colleague communicates in a uniform style and can question students and raise conflict to determine how students respond.

Simulations using standardized colleagues can utilize any clinical scenario, communication style, and inpatient or outpatient health care setting. In addition, many interprofessional communication tools can be incorporated such as providing recommendations on hospital rounds when the interprofessional health care providers are together working as a synchronous team. Often in an outpatient setting, the team members provide interprofessional care asynchronously (ie, they are not all together at the same time), and a useful communication technique for this situation is called SBAR (Situation-Background-Assessment-Request/Recommendation). (20)

The standardized colleague activity fulfills the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education's (ACPE) Standard 11 through active-learning strategies and practice-based exercises that develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. The council further advocates the use of simulation, including standardized colleagues, as an active-learning means to deliver pharmacotherapy and interprofessional communication content. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.