To determine UK pharmacists’ experiences of their current communication skills and undergraduate training and to identify communication skills training and teaching at UK schools of pharmacy. Methods:
Two surveys were developed. The first survey was sent to UK practicing pharmacists examining their current communication skills and interest in behavioural counselling techniques such as Motivational Interviewing (MI). A second survey was sent to all UK Schools of Pharmacy investigating communication skills training and teaching. Results:
In the first survey pharmacists reported low satisfaction with their undergraduate communication skills training. A convenience sample of 109 UK pharmacists responded to the first survey. Forty-four per cent (n = 48) of the respondents stated that they continued their professional development in communication skills after an undergraduate degree. Seventy (65.4%) were not familiar with behavioural counselling techniques such as MI. The most common patient consultation delivered by pharmacists was around adherence to medicine 22.4% (n = 50). Pharmacists expressed a need for further training in clinical areas such as mental health 25.7% (n = 80). Results from the second survey to pharmacy schools showed that Schools of Pharmacy response rate was 60% (18/30). All 18 schools stated that they teach health behaviour change consultation skills and this is mostly delivered by a clinical pharmacist. Teaching communication skills was mostly delivered as role play with peers (n = 17). Conclusion:
This first national survey of communication skills training in Schools of Pharmacy shows that newer graduates have received more communication training compared to older graduates, however pharmacists’ respondents still felt that they were under prepared for behaviour change patient consultations. MI training would be welcomed by those. Practice Implications:
Structured courses in communication skills, including behavioural change techniques, are needed for practicing UK pharmacists.
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