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Open Access Research article

Pharmacist educators in family medicine residency programs: A qualitative analysis

Derek Jorgenson1*, Andries Muller2 and Anne Marie Whelan3

Author affiliations

1 College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

2 Department of Academic Family Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

3 College of Pharmacy and Department of Family Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:74  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-74

Published: 11 August 2012

Abstract

Background

25-29% of North American family medicine residency programs utilize a pharmacist to teach residents. Little is known about the impact that these pharmacist educators have on residency training. The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of residents, residency directors and pharmacists within Canadian family medicine residency programs that employ a pharmacist educator to better understand the impact of the role.

Methods

Recruitment from three cohorts (residents, residency directors, pharmacists) within family medicine residency programs across Canada for one-on-one semi-structured interviews followed by thematic analysis of anonymized transcript data.

Results

11 residents, 6 residency directors and 17 pharmacist educators participated in interviews. Data themes were: (1) strong value of the teaching with respect to improved resident knowledge, confidence and patient care delivery; (2) lack of a formal pharmacotherapy curriculum; (3) desire for expansion of pharmacist teaching; (4) impact of teaching on collaboration; (5) impact of teaching on residency program faculty; and (6) lack of criticism of the role.

Conclusions

The pharmacist educator role is valued within residency programs across Canada and the role has a positive impact on several important aspects of family medicine resident training. Suggestions for improvement focused on expanding the teaching role and on implementing a formal curriculum for pharmacist educators to follow.