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Inter-professional small group learning: a case study of two pharmacist-facilitated groups in Scotland

Judy Wakeling, Julie Ferguson, David E Cunningham, Leon Zlotos, Ailsa Power

Abstract

Background

Practice-based small group learning (PBSGL) is a growing and popular method of CPD.  This paper reports on a pilot project in Scotland in which two interprofessional PBSGL groups were set up and facilitated by pharmacists – one group comprising pharmacists and GPs and the other comprising nurses, pharmacists and GPs. The groups met on approximately six occasions in 2013-14 and studied modules produced by NHS Education for Scotland.  

Aim

To explore how the groups functioned and to see whether participants found this a useful method of fulfilling their professional development needs.

Methods

Focus groups and interviews were used to capture in-depth experiences using the methods of grounded theory.

Results

Sixteen participants took part in either a focus group or interview, including the two pharmacist facilitators of the groups.  Introducing an inter-professional element to PBSGL was perceived to enhance learning; different professions brought unique and valuable experience to the group.  The enthusiasm and skills of the pharmacist facilitators were key factors in the success of the groups as were the selection of appropriate modules and the belief in the value of interprofessional learning (IPL).  A few participants found the group size (sometimes 10+) too large.  Both the group with GPs and the one without functioned well, but it was considered by some that having at least one GP present can enhance the learning although too many GPs might hinder some participants from contributing fully.

Conclusion   

The learning achieved in these two PBSGL groups was enhanced by the mix of professions involved.  Longitudinal studies are needed in order to determine the factors that influence sustained involvement in PBSGL in general and how these factors may be similar or different in relation to IPL groups.


Keywords

PBSGL, Pharmacy Education, CPD, Inter-Professional Learning


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References

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