Aim To improve pre-registration pharmacist training and enthuse students in the area of paediatrics, within a teaching hospital.
Background The pre-registration pharmacist training programme within the hospital allocates each student two weeks within paediatrics, which in the past has been poorly structured. During this time, the pre-registration pharmacist spent time shadowing pharmacists and accompanying them on ward visits. On occasions it was not always possible for the pre-registration pharmacist to accompany a pharmacist. In addition, some key paediatric medical conditions did not always present during their two weeks.
Method To facilitate a more comprehensive training package a workbook, specific to paediatric clinical pharmacy was created. The booklet also contains brief introductory information about the wards and paediatric pharmacists, aims and objectives, and a reading list. The workbook is intended to be used as a ‘self-directed learning tool’, identifying clinical areas that the pre-registration student is expected to have a basic knowledge about, to help them prepare them for their exam and to give a good basic grounding in paediatrics. Different learning methods are used throughout the booklet to aid learning.
The workbook includes, all with a paediatric perspective, common illnesses, immunisation, drug history taking, counselling children/parents, role of different members of the multi-disciplinary team, paediatric reference sources, calculations, renal function, pharmacokinetics in children, fluid prescriptions, use of unlicensed medicines in children, suitability of formulations, neonatal pharmacy and total parenteral nutrition.
The students were briefed about the booklet at the start of their two weeks in paediatrics, and a discussion about progress at midway and at the end.
Feedback was requested from each student (n=15), with a view to improving the booklet and enhancing their time spent within paediatric pharmacy.
During the two weeks the students spent time in ‘general paediatrics’ and with specialist pharmacists, in tertiary paediatric services, experiencing the more complex pharmaceutical needs of these patients and the role of the specialist pharmacist.
Results Feedback was received from eight students (53%). All of them had enjoyed the placement, found the booklet helpful in directing their learning and using their time productively, when they were unable to accompany a pharmacist. Of those who responded, all commented that the booklet was a novel idea not used within other clinical areas within the Trust, and that it should be considered to enhance training. In addition, the paediatric pharmacists agreed unanimously that the booklet has been an asset in assisting the training of the students.
Conclusion The development of a workbook, to enhance the training of pre-registration pharmacists in the clinical area of paediatrics, has been very well received by the students and pharmacists. In response to feedback, it is being further developed and may be used as template for use in other clinical areas within the Trust.
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