Indexed on: 03 May '18Published on: 03 May '18Published in: Journal of multidisciplinary healthcare
Interprofessional learning (IPL) which focuses on the pharmacist's role in specialty practices as part of a multidisciplinary health care team has not been explored. This study aimed to determine health care students' understanding of the role of the pharmacist in compounding medications to optimize health outcomes for patients in rural and remote health care services. Four workshops followed by focus group interviews were conducted with undergraduate pharmacy, medical, nursing, physiotherapy, dentistry, Aboriginal public health, and speech pathology students (n=15). After an introductory lecture, students working in multidisciplinary teams undertook to compound three products. Focus groups were held at the end of the compounding workshops to explore students' understanding and perceptions of these compounding activities. Thematic analysis was undertaken on the qualitative data obtained from the focus groups. Student participants responded positively both to the opportunity to undertake a compounding exercise and being part of an interprofessional team, perceiving benefit for their future rural and remote health practice. Four major themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: improved knowledge and understanding; application to practice; interprofessional collaboration; and rural, remote, and Indigenous context. Students acknowledged that the workshops improved their understanding of the role of the pharmacist in compounding and how they, as part of a multidisciplinary team, could deliver better health outcomes for patients with special needs, especially in a rural and remote context. This study highlights that workshops of this nature have a role to play in developing collaborative interprofessional practice and increasing awareness of pharmaceutical services among undergraduate health students. However, further evidence is needed to assess whether positive perceptions of specialty practice IPL workshops will translate into improved patient outcomes in practice.