Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

The Impact of Elective Active-Learning Courses in Pregnancy/Lactation and Pediatric Pharmacotherapy

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

The Impact of Elective Active-Learning Courses in Pregnancy/Lactation and Pediatric Pharmacotherapy

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

A white paper published in 2009 by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) along with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education Accreditation (ACPE) identified the critical need for education regarding medication use in pregnant and pediatric populations. (1,2) Students are often apprehensive about undertaking pediatric practice experiences as they are viewed as one of the more challenging practice experiences of the advanced pharmacy practice curriculum. (3) Student hesitation may stem from a fear of the unfamiliar. The mean time devoted to pediatric topics in doctor of pharmacy programs is only 17 hours (range, 2.8 to 52.8 hours), despite that this patient population is one that most pharmacists will deal with in practice.

Although differences and changes in drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and dose response that occur throughout a child's development make pediatrics its own specialty, (3) the medical literature is relatively scant regarding the safety and efficacy of medication use within this population. This paucity of information is further complicated by complexities related to weight-based dosing, lack of available formulations appropriate for pediatric patients, and communication barriers. For these reasons, pediatric patients are at increased risk for medication errors. As pharmacotherapy experts, all pharmacists should have a basic understanding of pediatrics, regardless of their practice site.

The school of pharmacy's self-assessment revealed that only 8 hours of required lecture-based courses were devoted to pediatric topics and less than 2 hours covered medication use during pregnancy and lactation, suggesting that the curriculum would benefit from an enhancement in pediatric and pregnancy/lactation therapeutics. Thus, a pediatric concentration was developed.

Twenty-five students from each class are accepted into the pediatric concentration program through an application process. The pediatric concentration requires students to take one 3-credit-hour course in the P2 year, General Pediatrics & Neonatology Pharmacotherapy, and two 3-credit-hour courses in the P3 year, Medication Use in Pregnancy & Lactation, and Pediatric Pharmacotherapy: A

Focus on Ambulatory Care. Students are allowed to choose 1 additional 3-credit-hour elective course during the P3 fall semester to fulfill the school's requirement of 12 elective credit hours. They also must complete a 5-week advanced pharmacy practice experience. This paper focuses on the student-directed learning techniques used in the two P3 year courses.

DESIGN

The course development goal for Medication Use in Pregnancy & Lactation, and Pediatric Pharmacotherapy: A Focus on Ambulatory Care was to increase knowledge related to medication use in pregnant and pediatric patient populations. This was found to be difficult given the shortage/lack of pediatric pharmacy education resources. (4) There are limited textbooks focusing on pharmacotherapy specific to the pregnant or lactating woman and the pediatric patient. Information regarding the treatment of these vulnerable populations is most often found in journal articles and drug information handbooks. Therefore, both courses were designed to enhance students' ability to find relevant information within the vast medical literature and apply it to clinical decision-making. A wiki was used to organize key references and summaries for the most common disease states. Students used this as a basis for developing their own electronic pregnancy/lactation and pediatric reference database throughout the semester, which they were able to continue accessing following course completion.

The design goal of Medication Use in Pregnancy & Lactation and Pediatric Pharmacotherapy: A Focus on Ambulatory Care was to develop the skills necessary for a career dependent on lifelong learning, while focusing on pediatric and pregnancy/lactation content. …

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