A Pilot Program to Cultivate a Clinical Role for Pharmacy Students: DEVELOPMENT OF THE PILOT PROGRAM

A potential clinical role for summer students was presented to pharmacists and senior pharmacy manage­ment to obtain their support for the pilot program. With input from the pharmacists, role expectations and responsibilities were developed for both the students and the supervising pharmacists. A list of potential activities appropriate for students was developed (Table 1). Requirements for internship with the Alberta College of Pharmacists in 2004 were followed.

A general posting for summer employment for pharmacy students was disseminated at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta. Applicants were required to submit an application for employment and a curriculum vitae. During the interviews, the possibility of participating in the pilot program was offered to students between the third and fourth years of the pharmacy program. canada viagra online

A 5-day structured training program was developed to teach specific clinical tasks in a small-group environ­ment (Table 2). The training included an explanation of each clinical program and the student’s expected role. The focus of the training was on practical application of

Table 1. Clinical Tasks Identified for Students
Allergy assessment Nursing in-services Medication histories
Patient counselling for specific medications or groups of medications
Drug information questions Individual patient information
Chart review or patient interview to obtain specific information required by the pharmacist Chart review to obtain specific information needed by the pharmacist for therapeutic drug monitoring Chart review for parenteral-to-enteral step-down programs

theoretical knowledge to direct patient care and use of clinical tools or algorithms, from either Regional Pharmacy Services programs or the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Sessions were taught and/or facilitated by the clinical coordinators and by clinical pharmacists who had experience with under­graduate students. However, the preceptors of individual students were not necessarily involved in this training.
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Table 2. Topic Outline for Structured Training Program




Organization and management of Capital Health

Drugs and Therapeutic Committee, formulary, and drug assessment

Drug information resources


Review of student’s roles, expectations, and evaluation plan for pilot

Allergy assessments and medication histories

Principles of documentation

Hospital charts

Therapeutic drug monitoring


Drug information


Discharge counselling

Cardiac teaching

Adult and pediatric inhaler teaching

Total parenteral nutrition: clinical assessment and order entry


Development of and regional standards for patient information sheets

Warfarin patient education

Review of Regional Pharmacy Services infectious disease reference

Culture and sensitivity results

Parenteral-to-enteral step-down

Following the structured training, students were assigned to pharmacy teams for orientation and to begin experiential training and patient care responsibilities. Each team of pharmacists selected the specific clinical tasks that its student would perform. Within each team, a pharmacist demonstrated the activity and served as a role model. The student was required to conduct the activity under supervision and received constructive feedback concerning the completeness of the information obtained and the process of synthesis and recommendation. Once the pharmacist was satisfied that the student could perform the activity under indirect supervision, the student was assigned to perform that activity on a scheduled basis with the clinical pharmacist team. The pharmacist was required to document student achievement and assessment of competence for the activity.
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Table 3. Questions* for Pharmacists in Evaluation Surveyt
Questions for each clinical task
The student had adequate baseline knowledge and skills from the university academic program to successfully complete this task.
The student required additional training and support to successfully complete this task.
The structured training provided allowed the student to successfully complete this task.
The preceptor and other pharmacists provided the student with adequate support to successfully complete
this task.
Experience during the summer allowed the student to successfully complete this task. The student was confident in his or her ability to successfully complete this task. General questions
The expectations of the student were clearly outlined at the beginning of the program.
The expectations of the student were reasonable.
The role of the student should be expanded to include other clinical tasks.
Overall, I feel comfortable with the role of the student on our team.
Overall, I feel the student was competent in his or her role on our team.
I feel that the student made a meaningful contribution to direct patient care.
I feel that the student gained clinical skills and experience that will be valuable professionally.
*Pharmacists responded on a 5-point Likert scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. tThe same questions were posed to students, with appropriate changes in wording (specifically, “the student” changed to “I” or “me”).

For example, one component of the training program was warfarin patient counselling. First, the students attended a skill development session related to counselling patients about warfarin; this session was taught by a pharmacist from the Anticoagulation Management Service. Next, the student observed a pharmacist counselling patients about warfarin both individually and in a group setting. Finally, the student provided counselling, with feedback and coaching from the pharmacist, until it was established that the student was able to conduct the activity with indirect supervision.The pilot program included structured training during week 1 (Table 2) and experiential training during weeks 2 and 3. The students then began their patient care activities with the clinical pharmacy team. Data for program evaluation were collected from pharmacists and students at the midpoint of the summer (week 8) and during the final week (week 16) using survey question­naires; in addition, interviews were conducted at the conclusion of the pilot. A set of core evaluation questions asked of students and pharmacists is outlined in Table 3. These questions were asked for representative activities that the majority of the students performed.  canadian discount drugs

Category: Health

Tags: Clinical Role, Pharmacy Students

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