Background and Importance Studies indicate that gaps in knowledge about underserved patient care issues may be associated with the level of comfort and attitudes of pharmacy students caring for underserved patients.
Aim and Objectives The objective of this study was to assess the attitudes, perceived knowledge, and skills of pharmacy students to deliver care to underserved populations.
Material and Methods 385 pharmacy students were eligible to participate in the study. Students completed a modified version of the Health Professionals’ Attitudes Toward the Homeless Inventory administered between December 2020 and January 2021. Each participant was asked to rate their level of agreement with 8 statements concerning attitudes toward the underserved and 8 statements regarding perceived skilfulness in caring for the underserved in providing medication reconciliation services and patient counselling on a scale from 1 to 5.
Results The response rate was 22% (n=85). Most students felt comfortable providing medication therapy management (78%), medication reconciliation (79%), and patient counselling (78%) services. 88% felt they knew how to communicate with patients from different cultural backgrounds. The average perceived skilfulness in completing medication reconciliation activities varied longitudinally across class years (P1, 3.4 ± 1.08; P2, 4.27 ± 1.01; P3, 4.8 ± 1.01; P4, 5.0 ± 0.89). The average perceived skilfulness in addressing patients from different cultural backgrounds was highest for students in the P1 years (4.09 ± 1.12) and lowest for students in the P2 class year (3.91 ± 1.21).
Conclusion and Relevance The attitudes and comfort levels of students toward underserved populations did not differ significantly between class years. The perceived skilfulness increased longitudinally between first and fourth-year students in the areas of conducting medication reconciliation activities, counselling and assessing medication understanding in underserved patients. Students in the P1 class year perceived skilfulness in caring for the underserved was higher than students in the P4 class year.
References and/or Acknowledgements 1. Buck DS, Monteiro FM, Kneuper S, et al. Design and validation of the Health Professionals’ Attitudes Toward the Homeless Inventory (HPATHI). BMC Med Educ. 2005; 5 (1):2. (2) Lupu AM, Connor SE, Jonkman L. Pharmacy students’ actual and perceived knowledge related to underserved populations across the professional curriculum. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning 2013; 5(6): 526-540.
Conflict of Interest No conflict of interest.
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