Guest Post: Pharmacists working together – a priority for patients
Patients benefit when pharmacists work together. Increased pharmacist collaboration results in improved patient health outcomes, patient satisfaction and patient trust in their healthcare team. Lack of collaboration results in patient frustration, confusion and sub-optimal outcomes.
Pharmacists generally want to collaborate with other members of the health care team. Standard 2 of the NAPRA Model Standards of Practice for Canadian Pharmacists describes in detail the expectations for pharmacists to work respectfully, ethically, and in a timely manner with colleagues for the benefit of patients.
In reality, most of us work in a disconnected system and it can be difficult to identify and connect with other pharmacists who are part of a patient’s care team. Despite logistic challenges, the biggest barrier to collaboration between pharmacists that we have noticed in our practice is the pharmacist mindset.
We have found that a few simple shifts in perspective have helped us maintain a focus on patients and collaboration:
- We remind ourselves daily that patient care is always our top priority - we are legally, ethically and professionally obliged.
- We remind ourselves that we are part of the larger team of pharmacists with shared responsibility for our patients across the care continuum.
- We ask our patients who else is in their circle of care (including other pharmacists) and make note of how we can connect with them.
- When something doesn’t make sense in a patient’s care, we suspend judgement of another professional’s practice, avoid making assumptions and instead ask clarifying questions to understand the situation better.
- We remind ourselves that real patients are complex, dynamic and don’t follow the rule book. What worked yesterday may not work today, and a whole array of patient circumstances can interfere with aligning treatment with best practices.
- We use PharmaNet to make a notation every time we see a patient (e.g., Medication Review – Non Benefit) along with our clinic name and phone number so other health care professionals can contact us.
- We work hard to build and retain trust between colleagues, since trust is a cornerstone of all collaborations and relationships.
For futher reading on this topic please see our recent article written in collaboration with pharmacist colleagues here. References available on request.
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National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities. Model Standards of Practice for Canadian Pharmacists. Ottawa, ON: NAPRA; 2009 Mar. http://napra.ca/sites/default/files/2017-09/Model_Standards_of_Prac_for_Cdn_Pharm_March09_layout2017_Final.pdf
Gregory PA, Austin Z. Trust in interprofessional collaboration: Perspectives of pharmacists and physicians. Can Pharm J. 2016 May 16;149(4):236-45. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4973412/
Barbara Gobis, BSc(Pharm), RPh, ACPR, MScPhm
As director of the Pharmacists Clinic at the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Barbara is responsible for the Clinic team, and the strategic direction, structure and function of the Clinic site. In addition to her administrative role, Barbara also participates in patient care and teaching activities.
Prior to joining the Faculty, Barbara spent the last 25 years as an executive and agent of change in front-line pharmacist practice.
Barbara completed her undergraduate pharmacy degree at the University of British Columbia, her Residency at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Toronto) and her masters of science in clinical pharmacy at the University of Toronto.