Using qualitative methods to explore the dynamics of patients’ perspective sharing in community pharmacy counseling–conversation analysis and video-stimulated recall interviews

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Qualitative analyses, Emotions, Communication, Mentalizing, single case-study


Background: For patient centered counseling to take place in community pharmacies, patients should feel encouraged to share their perspectives, yet studies show that this rarely happens. The process of patient perspective sharing relies on the interactional details that unfold during an encounter i.e. how patients verbally and nonverbally are encouraged to share their perspective, which in turn is affected by patients’ and pharmacy staff members’ psychological processes in the situation, i.e. how they perceive and feel when acting. Therefore, employing complimentary methods that study both interactional and psychological processes could deepen the understanding of the dynamics governing patients’ perspective sharing in pharmacy encounters. Objective: The objective of this study is twofold: 1) a methodological consideration of the benefits of employing Conversation Analysis (CA) and Video-Stimulated Recall Interviews (VSRI) in parallel, 2) to use the methodological combination to understand patient perspective sharing in community pharmacy interactions. Method: A single case study of one pharmacy encounter to explore the objectives in-depth. This was done through video recording of pharmacy encounters and subsequent CA-analysis; VSRIs were conducted with the involved patient and pharmacy staff member and analyzed using a qualitative thematic approach. Results: By exploring detailed interactional and psychological processes in parallel, specific occurrences which might hinder patients’ perspective sharing were revealed. CA demonstrated that staff member’s listening activities restricted the patient’s perspective sharing. VSRIs with patient and staff member supported this result: the staff member had a narrow conception of what counted as suitable answers and did not consider listening an active process. The patient harbored shame about needing to take the medication which affected her behavior during the encounter. Conclusion: The novelty of the methodological combination is promising in order to grasp the complex process of patient perspective sharing in pharmacy encounters, as it affords aspects such as emotionality to be considered a central part of pharmacy encounters. As a consequence, it is suggested that the psychological concept of mentalizing is added to pharmacy education, as it is a trainable capacity enabling staff to become aware of the mental states that affect both patients and staff themselves during the pharmacy encounter.

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