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News from New Zealand's pharmacy schools

Interprofessional ­education project positive for both pharmacy and physio

Liane Topham-KindleyFriday 01 September 2017, 1:07PM
Interprofessional ­education project positive for both pharmacy and physioFinal-year pharmacy students Lai Yan Pow and Polly Browne would like to see the interprofessional learning project they participated in with physiotherapy students as a permanent fixture in the new curriculum
Photo: Rewa Pene

Two pharmacy students who participated in a pilot interprofessional learning project, together with student physiotherapists, are enthusiastic about their experience. 

Lai Yan Pow and Polly Browne volunteered to participate in the community-based exercise and health programme for people with diabetes and prediabetes. 

They worked alongside the student physiotherapists, providing participants with advice about their medication as well as delivering presentations about diabetes control and pain ­management. 

Fourth-year student Ms Browne says she enjoyed working with people in the community and being able to use her knowledge to help increase understanding of their medical conditions and how they can take charge of their health. 

"The physiotherapy students Lai Yan and I worked alongside were very easy to collaborate with, and I learned much more about their profession and the services that physiotherapists can offer." 

Ms Pow, who is also in her final year of study, says the project was a good opportunity to learn and practice communication skills with "real" patients, as well as cooperating with the physiotherapy students. 

"I think the biggest takeaway from this IPE is understanding the importance of the pharmacist and interprofessional cooperation in uplifting patients' health and wellbeing," Ms Pow says. 

School of Pharmacy professional practice fellow Aynsley Peterson says interprofessional education is a priority for the division of health sciences and it is important to expose students to the experience. 

"It's about working together, not just being in the same place at the same time - and learning from each other to improve care of the patient." 

The Tairawhiti interprofessional education programme is the school's largest interprofessional experience; however, not all students can participate in this. 

The community-based exercise and health programme in Dunedin was an opportunity to see whether students could be involved in a local programme. 

School of physiotherapy professional practice fellow Chris Higgs is also enthusiastic about the programme's success.  

"We thought it looked possible; we have figured out it is possible - the students did have positive experiences," Mr Higgs told a recent meeting of people interested in learning more about the project.  

The students are hopeful their peers may be involved in future. 

"It allows pharmacy students to work alongside other health professional students to provide a multidisciplinary approach to healthcare," Ms Browne says. 


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