Many innovations have been made in the field of medical education in the past decades in Japan, however, until now it has been tempted to accept and respond to the international trends. We have to make it into the era of deepening and internalizing these trends. Updating the educational skills of medical teachers has so far largely depended on individual efforts. It is necessary to build a system to provide the basics of education and to support diverse careers of health professionals as educators. Regarding educational research, an excess of import has continued. We should support young researchers and disseminate the research outcomes to the world. Research questions such as “how to learn” and “how to teach” will be a start of educational research, and these will be accumulated and contribute to the advancement of health profession education. Medical education and pharmacy education have a “common language and culture”. Under the philosophy “all health professionals are educators”, I hope, both academic societies will act closely in cooperation.
Special Topics “At the beginning of pharmaceutical education research”
Ten years have passed since six-year pharmaceutical education was introduced in 2006. As the environment surrounding pharmacists changes, further advancement in pharmaceutical education is expected. In this context, an increasing number of studies have been conducted to improve pharmaceutical education and practice, with an emphasis on not only quantitative but also qualitative research. The present paper introduces qualitative research based on content analysis and the Grounded Theory Approach (GTA) to assess pharmaceutical education programs and the professional skills of pharmacists, and discusses the characteristics of the qualitative research. Teachers involved in pharmaceutical education are required to focus on changes in health care environments, while paying attention to universal education required for pharmacists as specialists and their advancing professional skills, to exert their efforts to improve pharmaceutical education and maintain its quality. Therefore, they should discuss methods for educational approaches and assess the effects of pharmaceutical education on students to reflect the results of assessment in its improvement.
Pharmacy students need to understand the various problems experienced by the elderly and the physically handicapped, and cope with them appropriately. In order to enable pharmacy students to acquire such knowledge and skills efficiently, many pharmacy schools in Japan have provided the students with physically handicapped simulation program such as wheelchair experiences, virtual experiences of the elderly, and so on. At Osaka University, we have provided our students similar physically handicapped simulation program with the cooperation of the Department of Nursing. However, in the real world, support for these patients is provided by nurses or healthcare workers, and not directly by pharmacists. Therefore, we implemented a newly designed physically handicapped simulation program since 2014. This program was targeted at first grade students in six-year and four-year courses. Considering typical cases where the elderly or the physically handicapped patients found difficulty regarding medication, we set up four situations: hemiplegia, visual impairment, swallowing disturbances, and speech impairments. The students filled out questionnaires for each situation. Regardless of whether students were enrolled in the six-year or four-year course, many answered that they became aware of what were important for the elderly or the physically handicapped to take medicine through the new popular program. We would like to make the program more attractive one from now on.
One of the critical roles of pharmacists is to avoid incidents related to adverse effects of drugs. Third-year students observed the adverse effects of propranolol using a PC installed with instructor soft-ware for the high-performance patient simulator, SimMan 3G. They administered propranolol on the PC to SimMan 3G, which was in a state of asthmatic attack (medium grade), and then monitored cardiac and respiratory parameters. We assessed their scores they obtained pre-test and post-test, and additionally analyzed the reports of the performance. Their scores of post-test were significantly higher than the pre-test scores. Sixty-eight percent of them said that propranolol was contraindicated for asthmatic attack, or that asthmatic attack was aggravated by propranolol. Forty percent of them correctly described the hypotensive mechanisms of propranolol based on their observations. The present report demonstrated that the instructor software for SimMan 3G is a good tool for learning about adverse effects of beta-blockers in a large class.
In Japan, the demand for self-care is increasing, and has come to include demands for greater amounts of OTC drugs to reduce medical expenses. Accordingly, we need to develop and incorporate OTC drugs practices in Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE), which at present do not sufficiently cover OTC drugs. To clarify the current issues with OTC drugs practice and to propose plans for improvement, we conducted questionnaire surveys of 159 students who experienced APPE and of 158 community pharmacists in the 2015 school year. A total of 46% of students were satisfied about OTC drugs practices in APPE, and said that “experiencing sales” gave them the most satisfaction, as well as “roleplay & observation”. More than 80% of community pharmacists answered that they had difficulties in APPE regarding OTC drugs. The largest problem for achieving SBOs for OTC drugs is that there are fewer opportunities to sell them. Additionally, community pharmacists felt that students lacked communication skills. This survey thus showed the necessity of learning communication skills, as well as improving skill and knowledge of OTC drugs, before beginning APPE at university. To accomplish this, students should experience sales as much as possible, and where this is not possible, they should engage in roleplay and observation. These OTC drugs practices were identified as giving students high satisfaction and can contribute to improving OTC drugs practices.
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