We are all patient-centred now, aren't we? Lessons from new pharmacy graduates


Introduction: Patient-centredness is considered integral to the delivery of modern healthcare. This qualitative, longitudinal study explored the meaning and development of the practice of pharmacy graduates, leading to a focus on patient-centredness. The approach adopted in this study aligned with the principles of hermeneutic phenomenology. Methods: Twelve pharmacy graduates (seven females) from The University of Queensland were observed at work and interviewed about their experiences of pharmacy practice every six months for two years following graduation. Results: These 12 graduates initially understood and enacted pharmacy practice in a range of ways. A distinguishing characteristic related to how patients/customers featured in their practice. For some, ensuring the efficient supply or administration of correct and safe medicines with instructions was the focus, with patients viewed as source and recipient of information. For others, the focus was communicating effectively with patients/customers to provide individualised advice to avoid medication-related problems. A third group focused on achieving a broader goal, to provide individualised care to optimise health outcomes from medicines. Initial understanding of patient-centredness remained largely unchanged for most participants over the two years, despite the passage of time and experience gained. Conclusions: This study calls into question an assumption of a common meaning for patient-centredness. The findings highlight the need to question and debate what patient-centredness means in contemporary pharmacy practice, rather than simply being an aspirational or theoretical concept. It is important that pharmacists and educators appreciate the centrality of understanding of practice for development, to optimally facilitate the development of patient-centred pharmacists.

Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning