UGA’s College of Pharmacy and Department of Theater and Film Studies are working together to provide their students with an immersive learning experience. Each spring semester, the departments collaborate to conduct mock counseling sessions in which theater students play the role of the patient while the pharmacy students counsel them. This partnership provides students with the opportunity to learn and foster skills that they will need in their everyday work and future careers.
Pharmacy students get a first-hand human experience with their “patients” while theater students gain experience in portraying a character’s physiology and psychology. This cross-campus collaboration serves as a real world experience that one can’t get from a text book.
The coordinators of this collaboration are Kay Brooks from the Division of Experience Programs at the College of Pharmacy and Ami Sallee, a graduate assistant in the Theater department. They started their collaboration in spring of 2016 and so far it has been a success.
“Using standardized patients allows students to practice their skills in a way that feels a little more like a real patient, but in a safe environment where mistakes can be made,” Brooks said. “Ultimately, the simulations improve student confidence as they move into their practice experiences.”
Theater students have a lot to gain as well.
“The acting students learn the root and origin of several types of pain and sickness and how they physiologically manifest in the body and the psychological effects they can produce,” Sallee said. “They spend the second half of the semester using these new skills to approach character work.”
Though they teach completely different disciplines, both departments have something to learn from one another.