Background and purpose: Patient-centered communication (PCC) skills are critical to the practice of pharmacy. A gap analysis of the communication content of our curriculum revealed inadequate coverage of several competencies recommended by a National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation - National Community Pharmacy Association - Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education joint task force report: "support patient behavior change through skills such as motivational interviewing", "demonstrate compassion and empathy for patients", and "solve adherence challenges created by low health literacy".
Educational activity and setting: A required PCC course, heavily grounded in motivational interviewing principles, was introduced into the spring of the first professional year to address the identified curricular gaps. Activities and assessments in additional semesters were added to further develop these skills and provide accountability.
Findings: The course addressed the curricular gaps and was well-received by students. Students demonstrated competency in a role-play setting including improved proficiency between role-play activities. Reflections from a community pharmacy introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) demonstrate that students perceived an ability to use the skills in practice.
Discussion and summary: This course has been successfully established as an introduction to PCC concepts and skills for first professional year pharmacy students. Use of the skills during a community pharmacy IPPE illustrates that the class functions as a foundation on which to further develop these skills throughout the remaining didactic and experiential curricula.
Keywords: Communication; Curriculum; Patient-centered; Pharmacy school.
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