Document Type


Date of Original Version



Pharmacy Practice


Objective: To develop, implement, and evaluate the use of virtual patients as a teaching tool for third-professional year PharmD students within an advanced elective self-care course.

Design: Practicing community pharmacists, faculty members, and pharmacy residents with alias e-mail accounts served as virtual patients and corresponded on a weekly basis via e-mail with pharmacy students regarding an assortment of fictional health concerns. Self-care inquiries were e-mailed to the students who replied and then forwarded their response to the course coordinator for evaluation and class discussion. At the end of the course, students were asked to assess the value of the learning activity.

Assessment: Students demonstrated significant improvement in knowledge, problem-solving, communication, and professional skills upon course completion. Student's assessments of the virtual patient activity have suggested positive feedback on developing self-care skills, patient interactions, and group dynamics.

Conclusion: This teaching tool was designed to enhance student's knowledge base, assessment, and counseling skills when interacting with patients in various situations. Instructor evaluation of responses, student feedback, and self-evaluation indicated the activity improved overall knowledge and communication skills.