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Collaborative working gives Pharmacy students the prescription for success

Pharmacy students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are reaping the benefits of learning from, with and about other health and social care professionals of the future.

Students from across the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences are invited to Interprofessional Education (IPE) events, and are often joined by medical students from the University of Leicester and professional practitioners.

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The aim is to work together for the benefit of the patient - an approach that has already had an impact on Moomtaz Ahmed.

The final-year Pharmacy student said IPE helped her spot a potential problem, understand why it had occurred and deal with it.

Moomtaz said: "At the community pharmacy where I work part-time, I noticed a new item with a high dose added to a repeat prescription.

"At an IPE event we learned that while we train using the British National Formulary, a pharmaceutical reference, doctors' training focuses on the condition, so they may not know as much about doses.

"I contacted the doctor and my concern was right, it should have been lower.

"The IPE event also helped me liaise with the receptionist and doctor," added Moomtaz, whose pharmacy knowledge so impressed her boss she has been offered a pre-registration placement.

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DMU has been running the IPE programme for more than 10 years ago, but it has recently been expanded to offer more events and opportunities.

Dr Neena Lakhani, IPE lead for the MPharm course, said it is "critical" for IPE to happen.

She said: "It's a huge programme in conjunction with the University of Leicester and very important for the future development of healthcare professionals and social workers.

"It helps them appreciate the value of person-centre care and multidisciplinary teamwork as well as their own value within the team.

"Students go out to hospitals, GP practices and community centres, and all events are based around the patient. They learn what other health and social care professionals do, as there can be so many people involved in one patient's care, and unless the professionals talk to each other it can be quite chaotic.

"This is the approach advocated by the World Health Organisation and is practised in many parts of the world."

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Dr Lakhani attends IPE conferences all over the world along with fellow DMU staff and students where possible.

She added: "The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), which accredits the MPharm programme, has commended our IPE as a beacon of good teaching practice.

"Pharmacy practice is evolving to take an holistic approach as well as a clinical one, so we tailor-make the course to professional-specific selling points as well as multidisciplinary ones.

"We've embraced IPE as a school and a faculty."

Final-year student Puja Rana has attended two IPE sessions - patient safety and listening workshops.

She said: "Attending these events has allowed me to understand the importance and benefits of interprofessional team work, and appreciate the value of different healthcare professionals in enhancing patient care.

"I feel the IPE programme has prepared me well for future practice as a pharmacist in which interprofessional collaboration is essential."

Posted on Monday 27th February 2017

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