Live simulation lab provides a realistic pharmacy experience

Lines of patients gather in the waiting area, eager to grab their prescriptions and check one more thing off their to-do list. The click-clack of fingertips hitting a keyboard and the ringing of phones fill the air. Hundreds of medications of all sizes and colours are sorted into bottles and carefully labeled for each unique customer, helping to improve their lives.

You might be picturing your local pharmacy, but this was the scene in one of Georgian’s high-tech labs at the Barrie Campus. Students from the Pharmacy Technician program had the chance to participate in a live, mock experience, utilizing the pharmacy lab to its full potential for the first time. Students carried out day-to-day tasks of pharmacy technicians such as collaborating with a pharmacist and taking phone calls from prescriber’s offices courtesy of Office Administration – Health Services students. The fast-paced structure of the live lab helped students get a sense of what working in a real pharmacy environment would be like, including face-to-face interactions with live patients who were played by unfamiliar upper year students.

Ameer and Krizelle, two first-year Pharmacy Technician students, both came to Georgian with different levels of pharmacy experience. They spoke with us about how this lab helped them feel more prepared for their future careers.

Before starting the program, Ameer worked as a pharmacy assistant, getting the job with no previous training in that field. After learning so much under the mentorship of a licensed technician, he felt inspired to become one himself. Using the state-of-the-art simulation lab allows students to gain hands-on experience while also visualizing what a real pharmacy looks and feels like. “The lab space is so realistic, and we all take our tasks seriously,” Ameer says. “Although we’re not dealing with real patients yet, we go through the same intensity as if this was the workplace.”

A man wearing a blue lab coat types at a computer with other people around him in a lab space.
Ameer’s previous experience working in a pharmacy led him to Georgian where he could further apply his skills.

After seeing firsthand how a pharmacy operates and taking what I’ve learned so far in my classes, I can see that this job is more than just filling prescriptions. It’s so important to have great attention to detail and the ability to communicate with customers. We’re dealing with people’s lives and there’s no room for error. This live lab has helped me feel confident handling any situation.

Ameer, Pharmacy Technician student

For Krizelle, it was intimidating at first being alongside classmates who’ve worked in pharmacies before, but she’s never felt out of place. She previously studied child and youth care before realizing she was passionate about healthcare. “There’s many options in healthcare, so it can be tough deciding what path you want to follow,” Krizelle says. “I’ve always wanted to help people, so I knew I had to try the Pharmacy Technician program. I learn best when I can apply my learning and I was really drawn to the lab spaces and hands-on opportunities that Georgian offers.”

A woman wearing a black mask and a dark blue lab coat writes notes as she looks at another person. Computers surround them in a lab space.
Krizelle says the Pharmacy Technician program is a perfect blend of theoretical and hands-on learning.

In the lab, students have access to the same modern equipment and technology used by pharmacy professionals, including scanners, automatic pill counters and packagers. Experienced faculty are also there to guide students and help answer their questions.

The professors are experts in this field and you can trust them. They’re so supportive and want to see us succeed, so I’m not afraid to make mistakes in these environments. The labs are such a valuable learning tool and I’m so grateful to be part of this program. I’m only in my first year and I already know I’ll be successful because I’ve finally found a career that I love.

Krizelle, Pharmacy Technician student

Explore more behind the scenes of the live pharmacy lab

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