Impact of a gamified simulation on pharmacy students' self-assessed competencies

By Denise Hope, Gary Grant, Gary Rogers, and Michelle King

Competency-based pharmacist education develops robust professional identities and prepares graduates for future practice to ensure optimal patient outcomes. An extended gamified simulation was developed as a capstone activity for a new Australian Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) program. The simulation was designed to consolidate students' knowledge, skills, and behaviors from prior learning. This research aimed to explore whether participation in an extended gamified simulation could influence pharmacy students' perceptions of their professional competencies.

Data were collected over three years to compare a superseded Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) program with an incoming BPharm program. Final year students were invited to self-assess their professional competencies at the start and end of their final semester of study, using a digital self-assessment tool which replicated Australia's National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists. Participants rated their own competency against the 26 competency standards across five domains on a five-point Likert scale (not at all competent to very competent). This provided pre- and post-data to compare the simulation (BPharm intervention) and a traditional semester (MPharm comparison), in addition to final course grades.

From 2016 to 2019, 85 (90.4%) of 94 intervention and 50 (83.3%) of 60 comparison students completed the self-assessment of professional competencies. Participation in the gamified simulation significantly improved students' pharmacotherapeutics grades and pre-post change scores for seven of the 26 competency standards, two of the five domains, and all domains combined of the National Competency Standards.

An extended, gamified simulation enhances the development of pharmacy students' self-assessed professional competencies.

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