Interprofessional clinical education of medical and pharmacy students

Med Educ. 1996 Mar;30(2):129-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.1996.tb00730.x.


Pharmacists have become increasingly involved in influencing prescribing. Pharmaceutical education has changed accordingly, with increased teaching in therapeutics, partly on hospitals wards, giving students an insight into diseases and helping communication with clinicians. To extend this idea we have designed joint therapeutics teaching sessions with pharmacy and medical students. The scheme involves final year pharmacy students who have completed a course in clinical pharmacy and medical students who have completed their second MB. Interdisciplinary pairs of students are assigned a patient with common medical and therapeutic problems, such as arthritis, diabetes and cardiac failure; patients on multiple drug treatments are preferred. They jointly obtain a history: the medical student performs basic clerking, while the pharmacy student obtains the medication history. The medical student subsequently presents a brief medical history, with a summary of the patient's current problems. For each problem, the pharmacy student presents the current therapy, its rationale and how it is to be monitored. Experience with 73 students over 3 years has shown that almost all found sessions with students from another discipline useful. Few felt that members of the pairs contributed unequally. The main problem appeared to be insufficient time (although 2 1/2 h were allowed). Most students favoured more such sessions. Little difference in ability appeared between the two disciplines; there was considerable co-operation and little nascent 'professional rivalry'. The medical students were more comfortable interviewing patients, and the pharmacy students more confident analysing drug therapy. It is concluded that such interdisciplinary sessions are a successful method of clinical teaching and should be encouraged.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Therapy
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Education, Pharmacy*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • London
  • Medical History Taking
  • Teaching / methods*