After our last webinar on Medication Cabinets, Carts and EHRs, we realized that not only is there confusion about what each product does, but there is confusion regarding how to use any one of these products in a Nursing or Health simulation lab.
So here are a few ideas:
For Pharmacy Students, this is a clear simulation. Have students stock opiates and narcotics in the medication cart and take inventory in order to restock after a Nursing/Allied Health simulation. This teaches students how to use and manage a cabinet, but also provides free labor when it comes to restocking your machine between simulations.
For Nursing students, cabinets can be tricky. Because cabinets are designed to track medications and hold Nurses/Clinicians responsible for the drugs they remove, typical simulations don't always fit when it comes to using a cabinet. Instead, we suggest doing a medication day. Set up your EHR system with orders for pain medications on 3-4 patients. Have students practice going to the medication dispenser cabinet and removing the proper medications for those patients based on the orders. Then, require the students to safely transport the medications to the patients bedside and properly administer the drugs. For an idea on the actual administration, look at our previous post on Medication Administration labs/tests.
Medication Carts can be incorporated into every simulation. These carts are a way to safely store medications in transport and at the patient's bedside. Instead of having your practice medications laying around your lab setting, make sure to load them into a cart before any simulation. Then, run any medication administration lab as normal but have students remove the meds from a cart instead of picking them up from a table or unlocked drawer. The cart also provides a mobile work station for you to store your computer or laptop for students to access your EHR system.
Hopefully that helps start the conversation when planning how to use these devices. We'd love to hear what your school does in the comments!