Interprofessional communication training: benefits to practicing pharmacists
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Background Interprofessional communication skills are important for pharmacists to build collaborative relationships with other health professionals, integrate into healthcare teams, maximise their effectiveness in patient care in addressing complex care needs and meet the demands of health care reforms. Objective This qualitative study explores clinical pharmacists’ experiences and reflections after completing a learning and practice module which introduced them to a framework for successful interprofessional communication. Setting The postgraduate clinical pharmacy program at The University of Queensland and the clinical pharmacy practice environments of forty-eight hospital and seven community based pharmacists. Method A learning and practice module outlining a framework for successful interprofessional communication was designed and integrated into a postgraduate clinical pharmacy program. Enrolled pharmacists applied newly learnt communication skills in pro-actively initiated, clinical discussions with a health professional in their practice environment. They provided written reflections on their experiences which were analysed using thematic analysis. Main outcome Pharmacists’ perceptions of the impact of applying the communication framework during their interaction with a health professional in their practice setting. Results Themes which emerged from reflections described pharmacists’ confidence and capabilities to successfully conduct a clinical discussion with a health professional after initial apprehension and nervousness about the scheduled interaction. The application of the communication framework enhanced their perception of their professional identity, credibility and ability to build a collaborative working relationship with other health professionals. Conclusions Pharmacists perceived that a learning and practice module for successful interprofessional practice integrated into a postgraduate clinical pharmacy program enhanced their interprofessional communication skills. The development of pro-active, interprofessional communication skills has the potential to increase interprofessional collaboration and pharmacists’ personal role satisfaction. Pharmacists also observed it added value to their professional contribution in health care teams when addressing the demands of increasingly complex health care needs and reforms.
KeywordsAustralia Clinical pharmacy Health care Health professional Interprofessional communication Postgraduate Reflection
We would like to thank all pharmacists who participated in this study, the skilled educational visitors who assisted in the facilitation of experiential learning and the overall course coordinator.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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