Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Students' Perspectives on Interprofessional Learning in a Simulated Patient Care Ward Environment

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Students' Perspectives on Interprofessional Learning in a Simulated Patient Care Ward Environment

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Effective communication between health care professionals is vital as poor communication has consistently been associated with adverse patient safety events. (1,2) For example, a significant number of events have been linked to the transition of patient care between health care professional services, both within teams and between disciplines. (3,4) Having effective communication strategies between health care professionals is therefore vital, (2,5-8) as is each health care professional understanding his or her own role in the team in order to facilitate optimum patient care. Therefore, health care professionals being able to effectively collaborate and work in teams is essential.

To better prepare health care students for the workforce, experiential learning, development of core skills, and interprofessional learning (IPL) are all vital components of health care curricula. (9) Interprofessional learning activities are occasions where students of two or more professions learn with, from, and about one another to improve collaboration and the quality of care. (10,11) Interprofessional learning has been recognized by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a key element in the development of pharmacy education programs. (9) Standard 11.2 of ACPE's "Standards 2016" emphasizes interprofessional education "to advance collaboration and quality of patient care, the didactic and experiential curricula include opportunities for students to learn about, from, and with other members of the interprofessional health care team." In addition, Standard 12 encourages the development of pharmacy curricula with an emphasis on provision of patient-centered care within an interprofessional health care team. The Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education (CAPE) also recognizes the importance of IPL, stating that an essential premise of the CAPE educational outcomes is for a pharmacist to be able to function in a collaborative environment within an interprofessional team. At a broader health care level, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a study group on Interprofessional Learning and Collaborative Practice to assess the current international research in this field. They concluded that there was "sufficient evidence to indicate that interprofessional education enables effective collaborative practice" and that "collaborative practice strengthens health, and improves health outcomes."

Studies have suggested that IPL is most effective when students learn together rather than in parallel. (13,14) However, research on IPL involving students from multiple health care disciplines is somewhat limited. Student responses from studies indicate that IPL is valuable, relevant, and enjoyable. (15,18,23,24) IPL experiences increase students' confidence and provide more clarity about their own and other professionals' roles and identity as part of the health care team. (24-27) In addition, self-efficacy beliefs regarding interprofessional and interpersonal communication are positively affected by IPL. (15,28) There has been an increase in IPL research over the past decade. While some studies have investigated how pharmacy students perceive IPL, (3,19-22,24,28,30-32) few have specifically evaluated how IPL affects their perception of interprofessional communication and teamwork as well as clarity regarding their roles and those of others.

At The University of Auckland in New Zealand, pharmacy students learn alongside medical and nursing students at three major points within the curriculum: Maori Health Intensive, a four-day team-based learning program led by indigenous Maori health researchers and teachers that focuses on Maori health and socio-political and economic determinants of health inequities; (33,34) Quality and Safety, a two-day teaching workshop; (34) and WardSim, which was added in 2014, a two-day interprofessional simulation-based course for final year nursing and year 5 medical students (enrolled in a six-year program), with final year pharmacy students joining them on day 2. …

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