Interprofessional Practice in Pharmacy: Featuring Illustrated Case Studies by Joseph A. Zorek and contributors is a creative and engaging resource to support the education of prospective and future pharmacists. Rooted in a case study method described by the author as “an innovative educational art form inspired by graphic novels and comic strips,” we believe it will be a well-received educational approach for current and future generations of learners. To our knowledge, the educational format of this book is unique not only for pharmacy education but also for the education of other health professionals.
Surveys in the United States and other countries have demonstrated that many people identify the pharmacist's role in healthcare primarily as the distributor of prescription medications in the community pharmacy setting. As such, pharmacy educators find it important to expose prospective and current pharmacy students to the broad range of expanding roles and career choices for pharmacists, including their valuable contributions to patient and public health. Chapters of the book focus on issues germane to locations of practice (e.g., community, primary care, emergency medicine, critical care), specialty care (e.g., cardiology, oncology, mental health, pediatrics, geriatrics), and other relevant topics (e.g., prevention and wellness, population health, technology, administration). Current and well-referenced educational reading material related to a chapter topic are presented to the reader, with the incorporation of illustrated case studies that not only call for application of the chapter content to real-world issues but also simultaneously expose the reader to roles pharmacists play well beyond drug distribution.
Of note, consistent with the title of the book, the first chapter focuses on interprofessional practice in pharmacy and sets the stage for illustrated case studies that demonstrate real-world examples of the role and contributions of the pharmacist in team-based care. The widely accepted definition of interprofessional education (IPE) is when learners from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other. While not a new concept, interprofessional learning to equip health professionals to advance team-based care has grown markedly over the last decade. The Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) was established in 2009 by leaders from six associations of health professional education, including the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The IPEC Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice1 and multiple faculty and leadership development programs offered by the collaborative have contributed to significant expansion of interprofessional learning that has equipped contemporary graduates for team-based care. Over this same period, specialized accreditation agencies have strengthened the emphasis on interprofessional learning in national standards, encouraged by an analogous network known as the Health Professions Accreditors Collaborative (HPAC). Recently, HPAC partnered with the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education to provide the field with Guidance on Developing Quality Interprofessional Education for the Health Professions, which was co-authored by Dr. Zorek.2 The illustrated case studies throughout this book help bring the role of the pharmacists on healthcare teams to life, and they reinforce the shared vision for health professional education and practice espoused by IPEC, HPAC, and the National Center.
Based on our combined knowledge of the Doctor of Pharmacy curricula in the accredited pharmacy colleges and schools in the United States, we can see a variety of uses by faculty for Interprofessional Practice in Pharmacy: Featuring Illustrated Case Studies. Exposure to the book, its contents, and purpose during orientation sessions for new classes will provide important insight for students to what their curriculum will prepare them to do, as well as open their eyes to new and important pharmacy career choices. For example, informing the students during orientation that preparation of students to be “team ready” at graduation is an accreditation requirement will provide early appreciation of the purpose and importance of the IPE they will participate in. The illustrated cases will offer educational material for practice simulation laboratories and help prepare students for their introductory pharmacy practice experiences. Moreover, the book will help final-year students be better prepared for advanced pharmacy practice experiences and to guide their selection of elective rotations that the text has exposed them to. Faculty from various health professions can use the illustrated cases to plan together their IPE activities, with the opportunity to extend the cases and have students role-play different scenarios. Finally, we believe the quality of the content of the reading material and the illustrated case studies will be valuable for the continuing professional development of pharmacists in practice.
Dr. Zorek may not have set out to create a learning resource that has the potential to fill so many roles, addressing educational needs ranging from prospective pharmacy students to practicing professionals, yet that is what we have found in our review. Furthermore, the potential for this book to stimulate and support interprofessional learning is substantial. As strong proponents of IPE for team-based care, we look forward to observing the use of this resource by faculty and students within pharmacy and throughout the health professions. As team-based care continues to grow, the public served by these teams will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
Co-Founder, Interprofessional Education Collaborative
Peter H. Vlasses, PharmD, DSc (Hon.), FCCP
Executive Director Emeritus
Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
Convener, Health Professions Accreditors Collaborative
Interprofessional Education Collaborative. (2016). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: 2016 update. Washington, DC: Interprofessional Education Collaborative.
Health Professions Accreditors Collaborative. (2019). Guidance on developing quality interprofessional education for the health professions. Chicago, IL: Health Professions Accreditors Collaborative.