Role and impact of student pharmacists and a pharmacist on an international interprofessional medical brigade

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Background and purpose: Colleges of pharmacy will be seeking new opportunities to provide student pharmacists with interprofessional and global experiences. The objectives of this paper are to describe an international experience to expand interprofessional and global pharmacy education and to evaluate the roles and impact of fourth-year pharmacy students and a pharmacist integrated into an interprofessional team on a medical brigade to Guatemala. Educational activity and setting: In August 2014, two fourth-year student pharmacists and one pharmacist/professor joined a group of 26 pre-medical students from Boston College (BC), six medical doctors and a nursing assistant as part of a one-week medical brigade to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. An electronic survey was administered to all brigade members upon completion of travel. The survey assessed the most useful services provided by the pharmacist and pharmacy students on the brigade and changes in perspective towards the role of pharmacy on an interprofessional healthcare team. The survey also collected information describing satisfaction with communication, efficiency, professionalism and knowledge of the pharmacy staff. Findings and discussion: Pharmacy staff was utilized for knowledge of drug products, therapeutic substitution, counseling and drug dosing/calculations. The brigade directly resulted in an increased likelihood for physicians and students to refer a question to a pharmacist. After this brigade, all non-pharmacy members viewed pharmacists as important members of the medical team and felt better prepared to work as part of a team. The experience was effective in fostering interprofessional relationships amongst healthcare students and professionals.

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning