Renee Acosta

Renee Acosta

College of Pharmacy
Use of Standardized Patients in an Observed Structured Clinical Exam

In my course, Nonprescription Pharmacotherapeutics and Self-Care, I rely on a variety of “patients” to role-play different scenarios. During regular laboratories, students role-play for each other. As a result, they experience 125 different situations. While this approach provides great practice, evaluating the students’ performances consistently becomes quite challenging.

In the College of Pharmacy, we utilize Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) to evaluate student knowledge and skills in laboratory, skill-based courses. Having consistent scenarios with a rubric would ensure students’ knowledge and skills are effectively evaluated. My initiative is to create scenarios with scripts and hire standardized patients. former students of the course, to role-play the scenarios during the OSCEs. 

Project Update

Phase I of the project used a backward design to create a new grading rubric for the OSCE in Nonprescription Pharmacotherapy lab. The rubric, which includes both knowledge and communication skills, is transferable to other OSCEs within the College of Pharmacy with an exchange of the knowledge component. 

Phase II of the project is currently underway. We are recording a video-based pilot using the rubric, scripts, actors to serve as standardized patients, students who previously completed the course. The pilot will be used to train current and future OSCE graders using the rubric. The project will culminate with the capstone OSCE in Nonprescription Pharmacotherapy lab in April 2017 using the rubric, scripts, and standardized patients.

Project Overview

Beyond drug product knowledge, I am interested in evaluating the students' communication skills. When dealing with patients, how something is said is often as important as what was said. Effective communication is essential for practicing pharmacists. Currently, I do not have a way to evaluate students how communicate their knowledge to patients.

What are you passionate about?

I am committed to creating active learning activities for use in both the classroom and laboratory settings. Active learning is the best way to prepare my students for the real world.

In Nonprescription Pharmacotherapeutics and Self-Care, students must readily apply their knowledge about over-the-counter medications in a real world setting through their Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE). As a result, I am very interested in finding the best methods to teach the students the material so they can effectively apply the knowledge outside of the classroom. I’m also interested in how to create methods that effectively evaluate their knowledge and performance outside of the classroom.

What is a teaching strategy that you've learned from another Fellow?

The one teaching strategy that I have learned from another fellow has been engaging students in my first year signature course. In an effort to create a safe environment for the students to engage in difficult dialogues, I have created a contract as part of the syllabus to establish the rules for respectful conversations within my class. By clarifying my expectations for discourse, I hope to encourage students to comfortably engage in class discussions.