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Pharmacists' interprofessional communication about medications in specialty hospital settings
journal contributionposted on 2015-11-01, 00:00 authored by S Rixon, S Braaf, A Williams, D Liew, Elizabeth ManiasElizabeth Manias
Effective communication between pharmacists, doctors, and nurses about patients' medications is particularly important in specialty hospital settings where high-risk medications are frequently used. This article describes the nature of communication about medications that occurs between pharmacists and other health professionals, including doctors and nurses, in specialty hospital settings. Semistructured interviews with, and participant observations of, pharmacists, nurses, and doctors were conducted in specialty settings of an Australian public, metropolitan teaching hospital. Twenty-one individuals working in the settings of emergency care, oncology care, intensive care, cardiothoracic care, and perioperative care were interviewed. In addition, participant observations of 56 individuals were conducted in emergency care, oncology care, intensive care, and cardiothoracic care. Detailed thematic analysis of the data was performed. Across all of the settings, pharmacy was less visible than medicine and nursing in terms of pharmacists' work performed, pharmacy documentation and resources, and pharmacists' physical visibility. Pharmacists, doctors, and nurses largely worked alongside one another rather than with each other. When collaboration occurred, the professional groups engaged in mostly reactive communication to accomplish specific medication tasks that needed completing. Interprofessional differences in attitudes toward medications and medication management communication behaviors were evident. Pharmacists need to engage in more proactive communication in order to reduce the risk of medication errors occurring.