Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Nordic Pharmacy Students' Opinions of Their Patient Communication Skills Training

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Nordic Pharmacy Students' Opinions of Their Patient Communication Skills Training

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Pharmacists need good patient communication skills to improve patient medication adherence. Only about 50% of patients take their medications as prescribed, and about 40% of Europeans have limited health literacy. (1,2) Good communication between pharmacists and patients is important for efficient patient care that can reduce societal cost and increase patient benefits. Good communication can clarify misunderstandings, prevent incorrect medication usage, and motivate patients to take their medicines. (3-5) However, studies show there is a need for improving patient counseling in pharmacies. Research indicates that often, little time is spent on communication on medicine use, and pharmacists use inadequate communication techniques. (6-9) Furthermore, the International Pharmaceutical Federation's Educational Initiative stresses communication as one of its core competencies for the pharmacy workforce. (10) Pharmacy schools can play an essential role in shaping future pharmacists who can counsel patients well. (11)

A curriculum for communication with patients should include a skills-, attitude- and problem-based approach, clear learning outcomes, a base of theoretical knowledge, emphasis on repeated experiential training, constructive individual feedback, self-reflection and skills assessments. (11) Experiential training methods are active training and can involve role play, video recording, acting or simulated patients. Historically and still in many parts of the world, the education of pharmacists is focused on acquiring basic natural science skills, specialized content knowledge, technical skills, and less on patient care, behavioral sciences and communication skills. (12,13) Pharmacy education is changing in parts of the world. (13-15) Nevertheless, pharmacists and pharmacy employers report a need for an increased focus on clinical training in the pharmacy curriculum, including more training in patient communication skills. (16-20) In another study, Nordic course leaders were surveyed on the current training practice and their opinions regarding teaching of patient communication skills in Nordic pharmacy schools. (21) The course leaders reported a need for increased training.

Students can provide invaluable insight on what they find works well, and can give constructive feedback to teachers and curriculum planners for improving communication training. (22) Annual surveys or course evaluations are ways to monitor students' perceptions of the curriculum. Some researchers argue that students' evaluations of teaching can be problematic and misleading, including the measurement of teaching effectiveness. (23) Still, students' evaluations can be useful as part of a 360-degree evaluation in addition to other methods. (23) Several studies have evaluated pharmacy students' opinions on the value of new educational patient communication interventions, (24,25) and how well students are prepared to handle the communications requirements involved in the practice of pharmacy. (26,27) The results of a study of eight pharmacy schools in the United States showed that students whose curriculum included more experiential learning methods felt better prepared to practice counseling with patients. (26) In the United Kingdom, final-year students from 14 different pharmacy schools were surveyed on how well they were prepared for practice in terms of 15 learning outcomes, including communication skills. Significant variation was found among the schools in terms of communication skills training/teaching. (27)

There are no published studies of pharmacy students' overall views and experiences regarding the patient communication skills training (PCST) they received during their undergraduate pharmacy courses. Further understanding and benchmarking are important as differences between perceptions and teaching outcomes may, to some extent, be linked to variations in teaching methods and/or curriculum design, and can help pharmacy educators find new ways of improving and refining teaching in pharmacy schools. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.