Can Simulation Training Help Pharmacists be More Prepared for Emergencies?


Over 90% of survey respondents said they believed emergency response simulation training should be required annually.

Pharmacists who take part in emergency response simulation training are more confident and better prepared to deal with medical emergencies, according to research presented at the 2023 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Summer Meetings and Exhibition, held June 10 to 14 in Baltimore, Maryland.1

Simulation training is an important educational tool that is used to help improve the knowledge and skills of health care professionals when responding to stressful situations. Pharmacists are often put on the code team in hospitals to help recommend pharmacologic interventions and prepare any medications.

Investigators developed an emergency response curriculum in order to evaluate the impact of simulation-based code blue training for pharmacy staff on self-perceived improvement and preparedness when responding to emergencies. The curriculum consisted of a 60-minute didactic code competency lecture, followed by 2 medical emergency simulations.

The study cohort included 28 pharmacists, of whom 22 completed a post-curriculum survey. During both of the simulation trainings, 2 of the participants managed the code cart and the other trainees rotated through different roles. The first training was a ventricular fibrillation arrest due to hyperkalemia and the second was a pulseless electrical activity arrest due to a pulmonary embolism.

The post-curriculum survey used a 5-point Likert scale to gauge participant confidence before and after the training, with 1 being very unconfident and 5 being very confident.

Investigators found participant confidence rose from a 3 before the training to a 4.5 after it was completed. Of the participants who completed the survey, 100% said the that they found the training beneficial. Additionally, 91% of respondents said they believed the training should be required annually or multiple times a year.

“Development of a pharmacist emergency response curriculum including didactic and simulation-based learning improved the confidence and preparedness of pharmacists when serving as members of the code team,” the authors concluded. “Future studies should continue to evaluate pharmacist’s confidence in responding to medical emergencies post completion of the emergency response curriculum.”

1. Marino, K. Code Blue: Evaluation of a Pharmacist Emergency Response Simulation Training Curriculum. Presented at: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Summer Meetings and Exhibition; June 10-14, 2023; Baltimore, MD. Poster 36-M.
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