Impact of a modified Geriatric Medication Game® on first year pharmacy students’ empathy and attitudes toward older adults

Sharon Haughey, Roisin O'Hare, Sarah Flynn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


It is estimated by 2040, nearly one in four people in the UK will be aged 65 or over1 and receive 45% of prescriptions2. The Geriatric Medication Game® (mGMG) was developed to highlight the challenges experienced by elderly patients when managing their medication and was adapted by the research group to reflect practice in the UK including patient experiences in the NHS.

Pre and post participation in the mGMG;
1. Determine the empathy of the first year MPharm cohort using the adapted Jefferson Empathy Scale
2. Compare the attitudes of first year students towards the aging population.

An adapted Jefferson Scale of Empathy-Healthcare Profession Students (JSE-HPS) was used to measure the baseline empathy of the entire first year MPharm cohort. A representative sample of 16 students participated in the mGMG. JSE-HPS was repeated post participation. Participants attended pre and post mGMG focus groups. The transcripts were analysed via thematic analysis. This study required and received ethical approval.

The first year baseline cohort (n=98) had a mean empathy score from JSE-HPS of 79.91/100 with post-mGMG participants (n=16) scoring 81.25. Four key themes were identified from the focus groups; 1. Understanding the patient’s perspective; 2. Access to healthcare; 3. Discrimination and 4. Impact on future practice.

First year students (n=16) displayed an higher level of empathy post mGMG, however the baseline cohort indicated a higher level of empathy than expected for first year students3. Students entered the mGMG with pre-existing, self-determined, high levels of empathy and participation reinforced this suggesting that simulation may have value when used to reinforce understanding and to provide context for complex concepts.

1. National population projections for the UK, 2014-based: (accessed 15th June 2016).
2. Spinewine A et al. Appropriateness of use of medicines in elderly inpatients: qualitative study. British Medical Journal. 2005; 331: 935.
3. Hall M. Hanna L. Hanna A. McDevitt C. Empathy in UK pharmacy students: assessing differences by gender, level in the degree programme, part-time employment and medical status. Pharmacy Education. 2015; 15(1):241-247.
Correspondence; Dr Roisín O’Hare;
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventASME Annual Scientific Meeting, - Belfast Waterfront Conference Centre, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 05 Jul 201608 Jul 2016


ConferenceASME Annual Scientific Meeting,
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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