Becoming advocates for medication reconciliation

Interprofessional learning experience fosters collaboration among current and future health care practitioners

On January 8, 2016, more than 800 students and practicing pharmacists will participate in the fifth annual Interprofessional Medication Reconciliation Event (IP MedRec), hosted by the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, in conjunction with the Faculty of Medicine and School of Nursing.

This year, participants include UBC pharmacy, medicine, nursing and nurse practitioner students, and nursing students from Langara College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, UBC-Okanagan, University of Victoria and University of Northern British Columbia, along with more than 20 practicing pharmacists from community, hospital, and Fraser Health Authority sites. The event will be held at the UBC Vancouver campus, with distributed site participation in Victoria, Kelowna and Prince George.

Medication reconciliation is a process by which members of a patient's multidisciplinary health care team collaborate to identify a complete list of medications the patient is taking as they proceed through transition points in care. The goal of medication reconciliation is to reduce medication errors and improve patient safety.

Event participants will collaborate in an engaging problem-solving session. This will include evaluating a complex patient case, documenting medication discrepancies, and proposing recommendations to ensure accurate and complete medication information transfer at discharge. A facilitated debriefing session will follow to consolidate learning. These activities will be supported by a strong online component of resources, video clips, and the use of the Poll Everywhere live audience participation application.

"This interprofessional activity is a wonderful opportunity for medical students to work side by side with other students from nursing and pharmacy which will help set the stage for further collaborative care as they all move forward into their exciting careers," says Dr. Fraser Black, clinical professor with UBC Faculty of Medicine.

After the 2016 session, almost 2,200 senior pharmacy, medicine, nursing and nurse practitioner students, along with numerous community and hospital pharmacists, will have participated in the collaborative learning experience.

"It was recognized that medication reconciliation was not previously being taught in the undergraduate healthcare curriculum at UBC," says event co-coordinator Dr. Judith Soon, assistant professor, UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. "Our goal five years ago was to design and implement interactive activities to teach senior students about the importance of medication reconciliation as patients pass through admission, transfer, and discharge. We are thrilled that the event has continued to attract high levels of interest and each year we have worked to accommodate more participants."

"Our fourth year students have found participating in this interprofessional event invaluable," says Elsie Tan, UBC School of Nursing. "Besides helping them to consolidate their learning around pharmacological management and processes, students recognized the importance for an interprofessional approach in medication case management. They also valued the exposure to other health professions' perspectives. We look forward to further integrating this inteprofessional opportunity into our program."

"Events such as these are essential for future healthcare professionals and the master of nursing-nurse practitioner students are enthusiastic to participate once again," explains Fairleth McCuaig, coordinator of the UBC Nurse Practitioner program. "Based on feedback from last year's event the students agreed that aside from the fact that medication reconciliation enhances patient safety, they felt that the simulating event helped all students understand the meaning of shared leadership with in an interprofessional health care team. Strong interprofessional collaborations are key for successful patient outcomes and healthcare professional career satisfaction. Learning this early in your education can only enhance future career success."

The 2016 event is co-coordinated by UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty members Drs. Judith Soon and Arun Verma; UBC Faculty of Medicine, Drs. Linlea Armstrong, Mark Fok and Christie Newton; and UBC School of Nursing, Elsie Tan and Fairleth McCuaig. Facilitation at the distributed sites will be provided by Dan Martinusen (Vancouver Island Health Authority) and Dr. Fraser Black (Island Medical Program), Katie Shovar and Robert Pammett (Northern Health Authority) and Dr. Keri Closson (Northern Medical Program) as well as Nicole Bruchet (Interior Health Authority) and Dr. Katharine Smart (Southern Medical Program). Also involved are Deborah Phillips and Chris Sale, in the Dean's Office, UBC Faculty of Medicine.

UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty members Dr. Arun Verma, instructor, and Dr. Judith Soon, assistant professor, have been instrumental in enhancing the practical clinical relevance of the team-based activity. "Collaboration is essential to the medication reconciliation process," says Dr. Verma. "Our hope is that participants will become advocates for medication reconciliation in their clinical practice and across their patient care teams."

Image Credits: (Header) Ivan Yastrebov, UBC Pharm Sci.