Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Interprofessional Curbside Consults to Develop Team Communication and Improve Student Achievement of Learning Outcomes

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Interprofessional Curbside Consults to Develop Team Communication and Improve Student Achievement of Learning Outcomes

Article excerpt

Objective. To design and implement a series of activities focused on developing interprofessional communication skills and to assess the impact of the activities on students' attitudes and achievement of educational goals.

Design. Prior to the first pharmacy practice skills laboratory session, pharmacy students listened to a classroom lecture about team communication and viewed short videos describing the roles, responsibilities, and usual work environments of four types of health care professionals. In each of four subsequent laboratory sessions, students interacted with a different standardized health care professional role-played by a pharmacy faculty member who asked them a medication-related question. Students responded in verbal and written formats.

Assessment. Student performance was assessed with a three-part rubric. The impact of the exercise was assessed by conducting pre- and post-intervention surveys and analyzing students' performance on relevant Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education (CAPE) outcomes. Survey results showed improvement in student attitudes related to team-delivered care. Students' performance on the problem solver and collaborator CAPE outcomes improved, while performance on the educator outcome worsened.

Conclusions. The addition of an interprofessional communication activity with standardized health care professionals provided the opportunity for students to develop skills related to team communication. Students felt the activity was valuable and realistic; however, analysis of outcome achievement from the exercise revealed a need for more exposure to team communication skills.

Keywords: interprofessional education, simulation, standardized colleagues


Interprofessional education (IPE) has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as education that takes place "When students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes." (1) The 2011 Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel subsequently identified four domains for collaborative practice, including values/ethics, roles and responsibilities, teamwork, and communication, that should be integrated into health professions' curricula. (2) Evidence from the education of students in dentistry, physical therapy, pharmacy, and medicine demonstrates that use of IPE strategies leads to improved team function. (3) The recognition that IPE and teamwork can also improve patient safety and quality of care have made IPE a top priority in health professions education, where leadership organizations and accrediting bodies support inclusion of IPE in student curricula. (4,5) The Institute of Medicine 2011 report, "The Future of Nursing, Leading Change, Advancing Health," called for the identification of communication barriers impacting teamwork and for research in educational innovations to improve team work. (6) The need for early interprofessional educational opportunities in nursing programs has been identified to enable students to become comfortable in their role as they begin to collaborate on a team. (7) The importance of interprofessional collaboration was also noted by the Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education (CAPE) as one of the 15 attributes that entry-level pharmacists should possess upon graduation from a doctor of pharmacy program. (8) The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education Standards 2016 require that pharmacy schools prepare students to provide care as part of an interprofessional team. (9) Specifically, students should learn about team dynamics including roles and responsibilities, communication best practices, documentation, and conflict resolution, and should engage in IPE through simulations and experiential pharmacy practice.

Interprofessional simulation education is associated with increased self-reported confidence, improved understanding of team communication skills, and knowledge of roles in the health care team. …

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