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The purpose of this activity is for students to practice verbal communication with patients following the occurrence of a dispensing error at their community pharmacy.

Learning Objectives

  1. Communicate effectively with a patient regarding the occurrence of a medication dispensing error in the community pharmacy setting.

  2. Demonstrate the ability to resolve conflict when communicating with a patient displaying challenging characteristics such as anger or worry.

  3. Develop strategies for pharmacy operations management in the context of a dispensing error.

  4. Self-reflect on communication skills to develop a plan for continued improvement.

Foundational Knowledge Required

Patient communication skills (obtained through new prescription counseling activities, medication histories, disease management and/or medication therapy management encounters)

Suggested Resources

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) Toolkit.

  • Truog RD, Browning DM, Johnson JA, Gallagher TH. Talking with Patients and Families about Medical Error: a Guide for Education and Practice. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press; 2011.

Assignment Instructions

Prior to completing the practice activity, students are encouraged to discuss with a pharmacist preceptor (eg, internship preceptor or other pharmacist mentor) their approach to managing this type of patient encounter.

This activity requires two students—one to play the role of the patient and one to play the role of the pharmacist. Alternatively, a student could ask a preceptor to play the role of the patient.


Review the Student Practice Case scenario prior to your encounter. Consider how you would communicate with a patient regarding the error that occurred at your pharmacy.


See the Student Facilitator Guide for instructions on how to portray the patient. After the encounter, fill out the Assessment Rubric and provide your feedback to the pharmacist (student).


After the encounter, review your rubric with the patient and discuss the patient’s feedback. Also, reflect on how you might have approached the encounter differently if the patient had exhibited more challenging characteristics (such as anger, worry, etc.).

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