Reflection and analysis of how pharmacy students learn to communicate about medication errors

Health Commun. 2009 Jun;24(4):351-60. doi: 10.1080/10410230902889399.


Medication errors are a serious and costly problem. This study focuses on the socialization of pharmacy students regarding medication errors. The qualitative interview protocol contained 28 questions on topics such as communication-related medication errors and training on how to handle medication errors. In-depth interviews were conducted with 44 students enrolled in a 6-year entry-level pharmacy program. Five main themes emerged regarding medication errors and communication: (a) pressure to be perfect, (b) feeling comfortable talking about mistakes, (c) assuming and communicating responsibility for mistakes, (d) learning how processes can contribute to errors and their prevention, and (e) inadequate and inconsistent training on how to handle medication errors. Study results indicate that pharmacy students experience both incomplete and inconsistent socialization to the role of communication in medication errors and in their prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Medication Errors*
  • New England
  • Students, Pharmacy / psychology*
  • Truth Disclosure*