The Pharmacy Game Newsletter
This year, the international Pharmacy Game team proudly welcomed representatives from 11 universities from around the world to the city of Groningen at the International Pharmacy Game Symposium. The two-day symposium focused on the Pharmacy Game developments in each university, but also looked at new educational trends in pharmacy education, such as Patient- centred communication using the mentalizing concept and the carbon footprint of drug use. The event was opened by Prof. Dr. Marc van der Maarel, Director, School of Science and Engineering, moderated by Prof. Dr. Katja Taxis Programme Director Master of Science in Pharmacy and hosted by Dr. Tanja Fens, coordinator of the international group universities, users of the Pharmacy Game educational concept.
What are the latest developments in each partner university?
Vilnius University has added clinical communication skills training. Teamwork and professionalism are emphasized at the University of Bath. At Griffith University, the Pharmacy Game is used in BPharm and MPham, and since this year it is officially a stand-alone course. At Utrecht University, students were happy to be back on campus after two years of hybrid teaching during the pandemic. Colleagues at the University of Oslo are preparing their first Pharmacy Game, taught as an elective in their curriculum. Unlike the rest of the partners, who use this educational concept mainly for community pharmacy training, Leiden University has launched its Pharmacy Game for hospital pharmacy training. As for innovations, at the University of Nottingham they use avatars and video feedback, and at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel colleagues use innovative pharmaceutical care services during their Pharmacy Games. In Groningen, we are happy to announce the arrival of a new skills lab, where we will play our Pharmacy Game, GIMMICS. As a picture worth a thousand words, have a look at the short video of this symposium.
New teaching trends in pharmacy education
Todays trends in pharmacy practise are moving towards patient-centered counseling. To achieve this in the earlier process of educations might be challenging. With the educational experience during the Pharmacy Game, students does learn a lot about how to provide best patient experience. This is mainly emphasised throughout some core learning objectives such as teamwork, collaboration, communication, knowledge, competence, and confidence/ leadership. Nevertheless, there is always room for additional innovation and expansion of the learning experience. During the symposium, the participants had the privilege to get informed about the advanced communication techniques with mentalizing, presented by Ellen Van Loon, and about sustainability initiatives, throughout the research example from the Dutch community pharmacies, by Rianne Vriend.
What is mentalization? It is a type of communication skill about the capability to recognize the thoughts, the emotions and the impact of the participants behaviour. When applied at patient encounters, helps pharmacists to better understand patient's needs so they can provide better service. We are all curious to hear the outcomes of the ongoing study among dutch pharmacists using mentalizing, and further explore opportunities to implement this technique in the practical education of the pharmacy students.
Some examples from the currently implemented sustainability initiatives include: collecting drugs-leftovers from patients, educating patients on disposal, use and adherence, medication reviews and promotion of rational prescribing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reuse of outer packaging, biodegradable plastics in individualised distribution systems and paperless working. The outcomes of Rianne's study indicates beginning of sustainability awareness with 17,5% of the pharmacies accounting for it, and excellent communication about bringing medication waste back to the pharmacy (92,5%). What directions will be undertaken in future among the Pharmacy Game participants, it yet to be seen.
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