Tracing the prescription journey: a qualitative evaluation of an interprofessional simulation based learning activity

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In many countries across the world, the majority of prescribing occurs within the community setting. Close collaboration between general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists is required to ensure effective therapeutic treatment of patients, whilst minimizing prescribing and dispensing errors. Despite the need to work collaboratively, medical and pharmacy training is often unilateral. Interprofessional education (IPE) and simulation-based education (SBE) are teaching approaches widely used by healthcare professionals to foster collaborative practice. At Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) an innovative IPE activity was developed for medical and pharmacy undergraduate students that aimed to develop a greater understanding of their roles and duties in community prescribing and dispensing. This study set out to evaluate the impact of such a SBE activity on students’ attitudes towards collaborative practice in prescribing and dispensing medication in the community.
Interprofessional groups of Year 3 pharmacy (n=10) and Year 4 medical (n=9) students, took part in a SBE activity. This focused on the IPE team clinically assessing, diagnosing, writing prescriptions, dispensing medication(s) and counselling a simulated patient (in a simulated practice and pharmacy setting). Using a questioning guide, four focus groups of medical and pharmacy students were used to evaluate their attitudes towards the simulated IPE activity. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed iteratively using thematic analysis.
Four main themes emerged from the analysis: 1) IPE simulation activity: creating a broader learning experience; 2) patient-centred practice: a shared understanding; 3) professional skills: explored and shared and 4) professional roles: a journey of discovery, respect and stereotypes
Students broadened their knowledge of each other’s expertise in skills and clinical roles while working together. Furthermore, students valued the opportunity to strengthen co-operations with their future colleagues with the shared goal of improving patient-centred care.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Simulation
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2017


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