Evaluation of simulated drug dispensing and patient counseling in the course of pharmaceutical improvement: 2009 to 2015

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Simulation Training, Role Playing, Pharmacists, Pharmaceutical Services, Counseling, Primary Health Care, Education, Pharmacy, Continuing, Retrospective Studies, Brazil


Background: Aiming to facilitate the drug dispensing process and patient counseling, specific professional skills are required. The knowledge, skills and attitudes involved in this process can be improved. From 2012 to 2015, a nationwide course was held, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) – Brazil, to train pharmacists working in primary health care through the development of their clinical and communication skills. One of the steps in this process involved the simulation of the drug dispensing process and patient counseling.

Objective: To evaluate the performance of pharmacists in drug dispensing and counseling through patient simulation role-playing held in a face-to-face meeting at the end of a training course.

Methods: A cross-sectional and retrospective study with analysis of patient simulation recordings and data collection using an assessment instrument with scores ranging from 0 to 10 points to assess pharmacist's behavior, skills, and technical knowledge.

Results: Participants presented poor-to-regular performance, with median scores equal to or lower than six. The median time of the drug dispensing simulation was five minutes and the patient counseling was eight minutes. Pharmacists had better scores in the simulation of asthma cases. In drug dispensing, 99.5% of pharmacists had difficulty checking the patient's time availability, 98.5% did not know how to use the devices, and 94.7% did not advise the patient on what to do if they forgot to take a dose. In patient counseling simulation, 1.18% of pharmacists remembered to advise on what do with medication leftovers, and 50.6% asked questions that induced the patient's responses.

Conclusions: The low-to-regular performance showed that pharmacists had difficulties at improving their skills in the performance of complete and effective drug dispensing and patient counseling.


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