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Pharmacists learning with other health professionals will become more common, new report predicts

Learning together with other health professionals is becoming more mainstream for pharmacists and future pharmacists, according to a report published today by FIP’s Education Initiative.

The report, “Interprofessional education in a pharmacy context: Global report 2015”, is launched under the auspices of this year’s World Pharmacists Day theme of partnership. It presents examples of multidisciplinary education from around the world, which include the development of an interprofessional curriculum at the University of Queensland, Australia, and oncology nurses training in a hospital pharmacy department in Uruguay.

This type of education is set to become more common in classrooms and clinical settings, the report’s authors predict. “As the number and complexity of treatments grow, it’s no longer possible for any one health provider — no matter how knowledgeable — to be able provide top quality care working in isolation,” said co-author Tina Brock.

Interprofessional education appears to be an area of pharmacy where developing countries are active, using new models that others can replicate. “In under-resourced countries, there is typically a shortage of health professionals. This provides additional motivation for professionals in emerging systems to combine forces and to include lower level personnel on their teams, as we have seen in Kenya,” Dr Brock said.

She added: “In the US and many western systems, we’re now spending significant resource in retraining people who were educated separately to work together in high performing teams. If under-resourced countries never build those professional ‘silos’, they will not have to expend precious resource to tear them down,” she said.  

Both FIP and the World Health Organization believe that interprofessional education is a foundation for a collaborative, practice-ready workforce and that this type of practice will strengthen health care systems and improve patient outcomes. “While there are many hurdles to moving interprofessional education forward, we have identified a variety of models and many successes in this area. We hope to expedite progress by sharing these examples,” said co-author Jill Boone.

Pharmacists and educators from around the world are expected to discuss interprofessional education next week at the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Düsseldorf, Germany.