Reflections and interdisciplinary perceptions of pharmacy learners on an international medical brigade

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning


Background and purpose: The Mountain Area Health Education Center, Inc. and Shoulder to Shoulder have partnered on medical brigades in rural Honduras since 2005, with pharmacy learner participation beginning in 2007. This study assesses the value of this experience to pharmacy learners and their contribution to a brigade's success. Educational activity and setting: Pharmacy learners and faculty, family medicine residents and faculty physicians, student volunteers, and other health care professionals participate in two-week medical brigades each February and August. Since 2011, brigades have been based out of Camasca, a small town in rural, southwest Honduras. February brigade teams conduct home visits, while August brigades consist primarily of mobile clinics. In both situations, the pharmacy team prepares, dispenses, and counsels on medications. Participants from three trips were surveyed. Findings: All pharmacy learners agreed the brigade contributed to improvements in their skills and competence as pharmacists. Brigade members agreed that pharmacy learners made valuable contributions, particularly in counseling patients, maintaining an organized workflow, and assisting in activities outside of pharmacy services. All respondents agreed that pharmacy learners were necessary to a trip's success. These international medical brigades were impactful educational experiences for pharmacy learners. Brigade participants viewed pharmacy learners as essential team members.

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