Maybe it was just serendipity but last night I had dinner with an oncologist and hospital administrator; this morning the headline Seattle Times story was about the challenges of administering chemo drugs safely, and then I addressed the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy—the folks worried about how to train pharmacists for a challenging environment.
Therapies are getting more complicated, cost pressures more intense, delivery more varied, policy more dynamic, and PharmD students more demanding about the education they expect. Obamacare includes (mostly) welcome provisions that encourage a shift from pills to patients and volume to value-add under the heading of Medication Therapy Management. Pharmacy educators are thinking hard about how to prepare their students for an expanded role in primary care.
The new demands are increasing the focus on critical thinking and problem solving—applied knowledge under dynamic circumstances. Computer simulations are playing a larger role in pharmacy education and experiential learning now makes up about a third of the training. I talked about the blended world of learning to come; turns out that many of these folks are leading the way.
It was an interesting deep dive into a subsector of education that was pretty stable for 100 years but needs to adapt quickly. Professional schools are a bit more protected from cost pressures and competitors and than undergrad programs. But it’s clear that the “21st century skills” conversation is alive and well at AACP. They are thinking hard about how to prepare health care professionals to work on teams, to communicate effectively, and solve problems for patients.
[These PharmDs don't tweet like ISTE attendees, but see #AACPAM10 for more]