Wet and dry approaches to enhancing contextual understanding of pharmacokinetics in undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacology teaching

Steven Tucker

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Abstract

Background: Pharmacokinetics is a fundamentally important aspect of clinical and non-clinical pharmacology teaching and is traditionally a challenging curricular area for students. Didactic approaches to teaching pharmacokinetics are poorly received by students according to feedback, and more innovative approaches are required to generate a true understanding of the subject.
Aim: To develop a model practical system that can be used to effectively generate pharmacokinetic data and allow students to experiment with parameters and observe the effects on the plasma concentration profile. Furthermore, to create flexible simulations of these practical exercises that can be used as an online learning tool.
Summary of the work and outcomes:
1. An entire suite of practical exercises have been created and embedded in UG and PGT curricula with very positive feedback from students. These practical exercises use a model system where administration of methylene blue into a beaker of water represents delivery of a drug into a volume of distribution (Vd). Subsequent concentrations of methylene blue can be determined spectrophotometrically over time permitting plotting of plasma concentration profiles against time. Standard parameters can be varied (e.g. dose, Vd, clearance (CL)) as can routes of administration (e.g. single or multiple IV doses, single or multiple oral doses, IV infusion) and the effects on the pharmacokinetic profile determined thus enabling students to derive, plot and manipulate their own data.
2. While the practical exercises above are an ideal way of bringing the subject of pharmacokinetics to life, they are restricted by the requirement for laboratory space, time and equipment. With this in mind, the practicals were transformed into simulated exercises available in online format for flexible delivery via digital means. The exercises were constructed in a feedback driven manner to reinforce learning and develop an understanding of pharmacokinetic processes. Furthermore, the simulations were designed as visual, interactive exercises to capture the practical aspects and to bridge the gap between the digital platform and the benchtop.
Discussion: Student and staff feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and grades for the pharmacokinetics sections of UG and PGT modules have increased by 14% and 18% respectively over the last 4 years relative to other course elements.
Conclusion: These approaches provide innovative, modern and effective strategies for enhanced learning in this traditionally challenging area. Developing wet and dry versions of these exercises extends the impact and compatibility across the pharmacological teaching community, providing customisable and flexible tools for practical teaching of pharmacokinetics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
EventBPS Annual Conference 2016 - Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Apr 201628 Apr 2016

Conference

ConferenceBPS Annual Conference 2016
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityNottingham
Period26/04/1628/04/16

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    Tucker, S. (2016). Wet and dry approaches to enhancing contextual understanding of pharmacokinetics in undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacology teaching. Poster session presented at BPS Annual Conference 2016, Nottingham, United Kingdom.