International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 587–595 | Cite as

Simulated caregivers: their feasibility in educating pharmacy staff to manage children’s ailments

  • Tina Xu
  • Abilio C. de Almeida Neto
  • Rebekah J. MolesEmail author
Research Article


Background Community pharmacy staff play a crucial role in the management of common childhood ailments. Simulated patient studies have not yet explored the management of children’s cough/cold and fever, nor have many previous studies used simulated patient methods with focus on self-assessment as a training tool to shape future counselling behaviour. Objectives To assess and shape the counselling behavior of pharmacy staff when dealing with children’s cough/cold and fever; investigate influential factors of counselling behavior; and explore participant perceptions of simulated patient methods as a training tool, with particular emphasis on self-assessment. Setting Community pharmacies in the inner city region of metropolitan Sydney. Method Six simulated caregivers visited eight community pharmacies. After applying their scenario, the interaction was scored and immediate performance feedback was delivered in the form of self-assessment. Semi-structured interviews followed, focusing on participant perceptions of self-assessment. Main outcome measures Scores for each simulated patient interaction, and qualitative interviews responses from participants. Results The highest mean percentage score achieved was for the symptom based request for a cough/cold remedy in a five year old (48 ± 14.3 %), while the lowest was the direct product request equivalent (22 ± 8.5 %). Qualitative results showed that simulated patient visits were viewed positively and self-assessment was highly regarded. Conclusion Using simulated caregivers in pharmacy to assess and improve children’s cough/cold and fever management is feasible and acceptable. The opportunity to self-assess is particularly beneficial, allowing participants to demonstrate key psychology principles associated with behaviour change.


Australia Children’s medicines Feedback Motivational interviewing Self-assessment Simulated patients 



The authors would like to thank the pharmacists and staff that participated in this study.



Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tina Xu
    • 1
  • Abilio C. de Almeida Neto
    • 1
  • Rebekah J. Moles
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Building A15, Faculty of Pharmacy, Science RoadUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Room N517, Building A15, Faculty of Pharmacy, Science RoadUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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