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.
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