Expanding Student Knowledge and Confidence on Dietary Supplements Through Mock Patient Consultations
Introduction: As dietary supplements are widely used in the United States, student pharmacists should be prepared to assess their appropriateness for self-care. The purpose of this project was to assess the impact of mock patient consults regarding common dietary supplements on second-year (P2) Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students. Methods: This activity was part of a required course, Self-Care I. Twenty-four groups of 4 to 5 students were created, with each assigned a unique patient vignette. Students had 10 minutes to speak on the phone with their “patient” to obtain needed information in order to make an appropriate recommendation in the form of a 2 to 3-minute recorded oral response. Anonymous, voluntary pre- and post-project surveys assessing perceived dietary supplement knowledge, patient counseling skills, and attitudes about the activity were conducted during class through Google Forms. The Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Test was used to determine differences in mean 10-point Likert scale score between pre- and post-test for each survey question, with significance if p < 0.05. Results: Significant differences were found between pre- and post-survey Likert scale means. Reported confidence in using the QuEST/SCHOLAR-MAC approaches to self-care counseling increased by 45% from baseline. Perceived student knowledge on dietary supplements increased by 44%. Self-rated counseling abilities of students increased by 87% for glucosamine/chondroitin, 28% for melatonin, 39% for red yeast rice, 38% for fish oil, and 42% for cranberry regarding their use in particular cases. Conclusions: The activity provided students with realistic exposure to questions about dietary supplements that patients ask community pharmacists.