What do future pharmacists know about, and think of, antimicrobial stewardship?
Keywords:Antimicrobial Stewardship, Attitudes, Knowledge, Pharmacy, Undergraduate Student
Introduction: This work aimed to investigate future pharmacists’ knowledge of, and attitudes towards, antimicrobial stewardship, a subject area which is embedded in the Queen's University Belfast (QUB) pharmacy undergraduate curriculum.
Methods: Following ethical approval and piloting, QUB final year pharmcy students (n=118) were invited to complete a questionnaire on antimicrobial stewardship with questions relating to knowledge of, and opinions on, the concept including whether antimicrobials are advocated for various clinical conditions. Data analysis involved descriptive statistics (% and frequencies) with statistical tests, including the Mann-Whitney U test and t-test employed for sub- analysis (of responses and mean scores for male versus female students and United Kingdom & Ireland versus international students), with significance set at p<0.05.
Results: The response rate was 94.9% (112/118). While no differences of note were evident for gender, United Kingdom & Ireland students were significantly more likely (p<0.001) to be knowledgeable and have appropriate attitudes than international students. Their mean overall score was 73.56 (±5.41) versus 68.27 (±6.06) for knowledge (maximum score was 91) and 38.07 (±4.69) versus 32.94 (±5.04) for attitudes (maximum score was 45). Only 61.6% (69/112) of respondents felt confident discussing antimicrobial stewardship with patients or other healthcare professionals.
Discussion: While reasonable scores were obtained, further research is needed to ascertain why one in three future pharmacists did not feel confident discussing antimicrobial stewardship. Despite coverage of this subject area throughout the degree programme, it seems that more educational interventions are required (particularly for international students) to ensure graduates can meaningfully contribute to this global health priority in practice.
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