Introduction: The concepts of ward-based pharmaceutical care as well as collaborative practice are still relatively novel in Poland, particularly in specialty areas of practice such as the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The purpose of this study was to identify the opinions and perceptions of Polish medical and pharmacy students towards the provision of pharmaceutical care services in the NICU as well as pharmacist integration into the ward-based multi-disciplinary NICU treating team.
Methods: A cross-sectional, mixed-method survey was distributed among medical and pharmacy students at a large Polish medical university.
Results: A total of 147 students completed the survey (74 pharmacy and 73 medical). Overall, there were statistically significant differences between the perspectives of medical and pharmacy students towards the provision of pharmaceutical care services in the NICU. For 11 out of 15 proposed clinical roles, a significantly lower proportion of medical students (M)agreed that pharmacists should perform these in the NICU compared to pharmacy students (P). These roles included participation in ward rounds (P = 82.4%, M = 38.4%, p < 0.001), therapeutic drug monitoring (P = 98.6%, M = 78.1%, p < 0.001), and monitoring total parenteral nutrition (P = 87.8%, M = 37%, p ≤ 0.001).
Conclusions: Further investigation is needed to develop educational strategies directed at clinical, patient-centered, collaborative roles, particularly for specialty areas of practice such as the NICU, that have the potential to facilitate the provision of a more advanced and comprehensive level of pharmaceutical care.