Using an intervention mapping framework to develop an online mental health continuing education program for pharmacy staff

J Contin Educ Health Prof. Fall 2013;33(4):258-66. doi: 10.1002/chp.21198.


Introduction: Current mental health policy in Australia recognizes that ongoing mental health workforce development is crucial to mental health care reform. Community pharmacy staff are well placed to assist people with mental illness living in the community; however, staff require the knowledge and skills to do this competently and effectively. This article presents the systematic planning and development process and content of an education and training program for community pharmacy staff, using a program planning approach called intervention mapping.

Methods: The intervention mapping framework was used to guide development of an online continuing education program. Interviews with mental health consumers and carers (n = 285) and key stakeholders (n = 15), and a survey of pharmacy staff (n = 504) informed the needs assessment. Program objectives were identified specifying required attitudes, knowledge, skills, and confidence. These objectives were aligned with an education technique and delivery strategy. This was followed by development of an education program and comprehensive evaluation plan. The program was piloted face to face with 24 participants and then translated into an online program comprising eight 30-minute modules for pharmacists, 4 of which were also used for support staff. The evaluation plan provided for online participants (n ≅ 500) to be randomized into intervention (immediate access) or control groups (delayed training access). It included pre- and posttraining questionnaires and a reflective learning questionnaire for pharmacy staff and telephone interviews post pharmacy visit for consumers and carers.

Results: An online education program was developed to address mental health knowledge, attitudes, confidence, and skills required by pharmacy staff to work effectively with mental health consumers and carers.

Discussion: Intervention mapping provides a systematic and rigorous approach that can be used to develop a quality continuing education program for the health workforce.

Keywords: community pharmacy; continuing education; evaluation educational intervention; intervention mapping; mental health; online; online/computer-based education; profession-pharmacists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Caregivers / education
  • Community Pharmacy Services / standards
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Education, Pharmacy, Continuing / methods*
  • Education, Pharmacy, Continuing / organization & administration
  • Education, Pharmacy, Continuing / standards
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Mental Health / education*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Needs Assessment
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Pharmacists / psychology*
  • Planning Techniques
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Professional Competence / standards
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quality Improvement
  • Surveys and Questionnaires