Pharmacy students’ perspectives on interprofessional learning in a simulated patient care ward environment

Louise E. Curley*, Maree Jensen, Carolyn McNabb, Sanya Ram, Jane Torrie, Tanisha Jowsey, Maureen McDonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To assess pharmacy students’ opinions of an interprofessional learning (IPL) course in their final year of the Bachelor of Pharmacy program at The University of Auckland. 

Methods. Pharmacy students participated in the second day of a two-day simulation-based course, WardSim, alongside medical and nursing students in an acute care, hospital ward setting. After finishing the course, all students were asked to complete a questionnaire. The responses of pharmacy, nursing, and medical students on the scaled questions were compared. An in-depth thematic analysis of the pharmacy students’ responses to the open-ended questions was completed using an iterative process. 

Results. Significant differences were found among the students’ responses regarding the prioritization of care, systematic assessment of patients, and communication strategies. Pharmacy students had less favourable responses regarding the IPL experience than medical and nursing students. However, overall responses were positive. Some of the themes that emerged among the pharmacy students’ responses included: learning communication tools, being assertive in communicating with other health care professionals, and understanding their own and others’ roles in the health care team. Furthermore, some pharmacy students reported feeling underprepared for and underutilized during patient care scenarios. 

Conclusion. An IPL experience in an acute patient care setting demonstrated clear and beneficial learning outcomes for pharmacy students, especially in regards to communicating and understanding their roles and those of others on their team. Tailoring the pre-work or scenarios for the IPL experience to be more pharmacy orientated and having pharmacy students participate on both days may improve the preparedness for IPL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6848
Pages (from-to)1328-1342
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


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