Medication Teaching Simulation

Med Comp 2

I hope everyone enjoyed a fun and relaxing weekend. I spent my weekend studying, nothing new there! I did get my first S’mores Frappucino, so that was a positive! If you haven’t tried one, you need to run to your nearest Starbucks and order one! It is seriously like summer in a cup. That combined with the gorgeous weather this weekend has me ready for summer nights on the balcony and days by the pool!

This week is finals week for Mental Health Nursing and it is crazy let me tell you!
Our schedule is:

Monday- Patient teaching simulation
Tuesday- ATI Mental Health
Wednesday- Last clinical day
Thursday- Final

Whew. It makes me exhausted just typing it! But I am studying hard and pushing through, three more days to go! Our medication teaching simulation was this morning, and it was anxiety provoking to say the least. For the competency, we had to go into a simulated patient room and teach a “patient” (our instructor) all about a medication they had been “prescribed.” For this class, we focused on psychotropic medications. The medications we were responsible to know were Antidepressants- SSRI, Tricyclics, and MAOIs, Anti-anxiety- Benzodiazepines and Non-benzodiazepines, Antipsychotics- Atypical, and Mood Stabilizers- Lithium and anti-convulsants. This may not seem like a long list after taking pharmacology, but psych medications come with a lot of side effects and really important teaching points for patients. Our instructors expected you be to be extremely thorough and wanted to make sure you knew your stuff.

The fun started last Thursday when we we split into groups and were each assigned a med classification and sub-classification. We had to look up everything from mechanism of action to side effects to what symptoms these medications will help. Then, we had to stand in front of the class to present the information. Two of my instructors were in the back of the room and proceeded to ask question..after question..after question. Then, the floor was opened up to our classmates, who also had their fair share of questions. There was so much information, and so much stress in that class by the end. People were furiously trying to write information as each group presented, and the students presenting all had the “is this really happening” look on their faces. Cue: Class anxiety attack! This will happen more than once in your nursing classes, anxiety is contagious! My suggestion for when this happens is to STOP listening to the side conversations, and stop talking about it yourself. This will just make it worse! Concentrate on what you have, and know when you have the time to sit down alone or in a study group you can make sense of the craziness that are your notes and look up any information you missed.

This weekend, I sat down and organized everything so I could understand it. This can be writing it out by hand, making charts, flashcards, whatever works for you. I personally organized all my information by medication. I then listed how it worked, what symptoms it will will help, and side effects in order from most dangerous to least dangerous. I made sure to include definitions for words people may not know like akathisia (difficulty sitting still.) For side effects I also made sure I wrote the signs and symptoms they needed to watch for, what to do if they noticed those problems, and how they could help to control any uncomfortable side effects. For example, if a medication can cause dry mouth, teach your patient to have good oral hygiene and use sugar free hard candy.

Next, I began to practice explaining the information out loud. The teachers were very specific that we were not reading this information, we were explaining and teaching it like in the real world. The amazing thing about nurses is we focus so much on education! We want to teach patients how to better care for themselves and safely take their medications in a way they can understand. In order to do this, you have to truly understand the information. Simply memorizing it is going to make it very difficult to explain in a way a patient can understand. It also is going to make it difficult when you are asked questions, whether it be questions from instructors or patients.

Friday I met with a nursing buddy and we practiced going back and forth where one person was the patient and the other was the nurse. This allowed the time for us to compare notes and see what each of us missed in a less crazy environment than the classroom. The rest of the weekend, I went over things out loud while driving in the car, to my dog Southpaw, to my bedroom wall, whatever and whoever would listen. Sure, I probably looked and sounded a little silly, but you do what you got to do! You do NOT want the first time you say something out loud for a verbal exam to be the day of the test! Things can be perfectly organized in your head, but they don’t usually come out in that organized fashion when you say them out loud the first time. Add in the fact it’s new information and some test anxiety, it’s just not a good combination. So bottom line: practice practice practice!

Today, we all were corralled in a “holding pen” as I like to call it. We were assigned a room to wait in until our time came to go in for our competency. Cue again, anxiety! If you get in this type of situation: find a corner, some headphones, and BREATH! Just like before a test, listening to everyone twenty question each other and ask each other if they memorized the obscure information that most likely is no where related to the test, will only make you more nervous!

When we first walked in, we drew from a box a medication and a math problem. We then sat down and had two minutes to write ourselves a cheat sheet for our medication (from memory-no notes!) and to calculate our medication math problem. Then, we were called to our “patient room” to do our competency. At this point, the key is to take a deep breath and do your best to relax! This is where things got a bit awkward for me. My medication was atypical anti-psychotic, and in the scenario the patient had schizophrenia. My instructor decided to really get into her role playing, so she started talking about her “boyfriend” Bob and her mother who was the mannequin in the bed (we were in a sim lab.) Somehow in my stressed state, it did not occur to me that she was pretending to be delusional and hallucinating (symptoms that would go along with her disease process and that this medication would help!) So I proceeded to have a conversation about Bob and her mother and how it was perfectly fine for them to stay through the teaching. I thought it was some secret way to test my knowledge of HIPPA (yes, now I see this makes no sense) so I thought they were suppose to really be there! Plus, in every other lab, the mannequins are considered to be real, living, breathing, patients! Finally my instructor looked at me and said “You don’t really see them do you? Because I’m suppose to be the one hallucinating!” Sigh. I had to laugh, but my face was so hot by this point from embarrassment I was afraid it was going to catch on fire, ha!  After that I calmed down and actually enjoyed the simulation. I felt like it was a great way to show the information I had learned this semester and practice an important skill.

In situations like this I think it’s really important to remember that your instructors just want to see what you know and they want you to do well! You know this information, you have studied it and seen it in practice at clinical. Remain confident, and just say what you know! The information is in there, this is your time to shine after all your hard work!

I am happy to say my competency went well and I PASSED! Three more days and I will be enjoying a much needed break! Have a great week!

Follow me on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter to keep up with my blog posts!


8 thoughts on “Medication Teaching Simulation”


Loving this blog! Very informative, and a great outlet for you!


Congrats on passing! I love that I learned some new things from this post. I don’t plan on ever making it a career, by psych is very interesting to me. It’s great that there’s such a focus on educating the patients, too. I’ve had both doctors/nurses that explain things wonderfully and that simply handed me instructions or medication without another word, and it’s so much easier to understand and more comforting for them to actually work with you.

Great post! Looking forward to the next one! 😉


    Thank you! I’m glad that you enjoyed reading and learned some new things! I hope to continue to write in a way that fellow nursing students and non-nursey people can understand and enjoy as well as nurses! I totally agree that it’s so much more comforting to have a nurse who sits down and talks to you vs giving you a generic piece of paper! It’s one of the reasons I decided to write this post, to try to stress the importance of patient teaching! Thank you for reading and feedback, you’re awesome!

Melissa Weaver

Wow, very informative but also insightful! I know it will help any nursing student or anyone suffering through anxiety in school, work or life! I may have been on a cruise during these exams but after reading this post I feel like I was there with you! Keep writing you’re an inspiration!

Melissa Weaver

Wow, very informative but also insightful! I know it will help any nursing student or anyone suffering through anxiety in school, work or life! I may have been on a cruise during these exams but after reading this post I feel like I was there with you! Keep writing you’re an inspiration!

Comments are closed.