Assessment of a simulated contraceptive prescribing activity for pharmacy students

Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2018 Feb;10(2):178-184. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2017.10.013. Epub 2017 Nov 10.


Background and purpose: The role of the pharmacist has been shifting rapidly. One example of change is the passage of legislation allowing pharmacists to independently initiate self-administered hormonal contraceptives in several states. There is no evidence of this specific topic being covered in pharmacy school curricula, and many states are requiring additional post-graduate training. This activity was designed to determine the utility of a contraceptive prescribing simulation activity for pharmacy students.

Educational activity and setting: Pharmacy students enrolled in a women's health elective learned about relevant state legislation and attended a clinical skills center simulation activity where they utilized an available prescribing algorithm. Students completed two scenarios and received grades based on their clinical decision-making and patient interaction skills. An electronic survey was distributed post-activity to assess student satisfaction and confidence when prescribing contraceptives. Responses and grades on the assignment were analyzed to determine the activity's utility.

Findings: Students finished with median scores of 15, 14.8, and 14.5 out of 15 possible points for the three scenarios. Students reported overall satisfaction with the activity, with general agreement that the activity was realistic and made them feel like they were prepared to prescribe contraceptives.

Summary: Independently initiating contraceptives is a novel practice area for pharmacists. This activity introduced students to the process of prescribing using realistic forms and scenarios. The utility of the activity was twofold - it introduced students to the changing environment of pharmacy practice and allowed students to apply their knowledge of contraceptives and women's health. Students performed well on the activity and reported high levels of satisfaction.

Keywords: Contraceptive access; Pharmacist prescribed contraceptive; Pharmacy student; Standardized patient; Women's health.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Contraceptive Agents*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Pharmacy / methods*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy / methods*
  • Prescriptions*
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Students, Pharmacy*
  • Women's Health


  • Contraceptive Agents