Deeper conversations: Palliative care education for pharmacists makes a difference

Andrea Thompson*, Tanisha Jowsey, Helen Butler, Augusta Connor, Emma Griffiths, Hadley Brown, Marcus Henning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the impact of a series of palliative care educational packages on pharmacists’ practice for improved service delivery. We asked, what are the educator and learner experiences of a short course comprised of workshops and a series of palliative care learning packages, and how have learners changed their practice as a result of the course? Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted and transcribed verbatim. Interpretive thematic analysis was undertaken. Results: Eight people participated in this study; five pharmacists who had completed learning packages in palliative care and three educators who facilitated teaching sessions for the learning packages. The teaching and assessment approaches were applied and transferable to the clinical setting. The teaching strategies stimulated engagement, enabling participants to share their ideas and personal experiences. Participants’ understanding of palliative care was improved and they developed confidence to engage in deeper conversations with patients and/or their families and carers. Although the completion of assessment for the learning packages enabled credit for continuing professional development, their impact on the long-term practice of pharmacists was not established. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that interactive teaching methods assisted the interviewed pharmacists to further develop their understanding of palliative care, and communication skills for palliative care patients and/or their families/carers. Pharmacists were better equipped and felt more comfortable about having these potentially difficult conversations. We recommend educators to place more emphasis on reflective activities within learning packages to encourage learners to develop more meaning from their experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalAsia Pacific Scholar
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


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