UND medical students and NDSU pharmacy students train together

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—On April 9, more than 70 University of North Dakota medical students and more than 60 North Dakota State University doctor of pharmacy students trained together at the Simulation Center in the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

As part of the State Legislature’s Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI), both universities’ health programs have been asked not only to expand the number of health professions graduates working in the state, but to cultivate these professionals’ collaborative and interdisciplinary skills. Yesterday’s event was the first time the universities have conducted this type of simulation training jointly, with medical students and doctor of pharmacy students side-by-side.

The SMHS Simulation Center—the largest and most active facility of its kind in North Dakota—is a hands-on, state-of-the-art simulation training facility for interprofessional health care providers that uses interactive simulation in teaching, educating, and research. The space offers a clinical setting where health professionals can actively apply their knowledge in simulation, observation, and debriefing of real-life patient scenarios, with the goal of improving patient safety and care. In high-fidelity patient simulations, computerized manikins are used to simulate situations such as cardiac arrest, stroke, or drug overdose, among other scenarios.

“The significance of interprofessional education, for both medical and pharmacy curricula, to prepare future health care professionals cannot be overstated,” said Marketa Marvanova, PharmD, PhD, chair of Pharmacy Practice in the NDSU School of Pharmacy. “As our health system becomes more team-oriented, providers’ ability to work in teams to improve patient outcomes and provide safe and effective care will only become more important.”

Marvanova and Simulation Center Director Jon Allen, MD, FACP, served as coordinators of the joint training. Both agreed on the importance of getting medical students and PharmD students to collaborate on patient care.

“Since working on opioid abuse together last year, Dr. Marvanova and I have had a great working relationship and looked forward to this collaboration between our schools,” Dr. Allen added. “It’s vital to the education of health care professionals, not only regarding opioids, but also regarding the teamwork experience that will be part of these students’ entire careers.”

The simulation environment allowed second-year SMHS students and third-year NDSU School of Pharmacy students to gain experience in how each profession plays a role in providing patient care as part of a highly effective, integrated health care team. Each simulation included a 10-minute pre-briefing, 25-minute simulation exercise, and 25-minute debriefing for students and instructors to gauge their performance during the training.

Similar joint simulation sessions between the two universities are being planned at this time.

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Brian James Schill

Assistant Director, Office of Alumni & Community Relations

University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences

701.777.2733 direct | 701.777.4305 office

brian.schill@med.und.edu | www.med.und.edu