After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to
- Determine fundamental drug information skills that should be developed in pharmacy students.
- Identify settings in which student drug information skills can be developed and refined.
- Describe the recommended training path for drug information specialists.
- Information retrieval, evaluation, and application skills represent a significant component of the core skill set each pharmacist must possess.
- Drug information skills are core concepts that must be incorporated in pharmacy curricula.
- The majority of foundational skill development should occur prior to student participation in advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs).
- Drug information rotations may also occur in nontraditional settings (e.g., pharmaceutical industry, group purchasing organization), which is a reflection of the expanding role of drug information in contemporary pharmacy practice.
- Activities in which students should engage to foster their skill development, ranging from responding to drug information requests to preparing materials for consideration by a pharmacy and therapeutics committee, have been identified by the Accreditation Council for Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE).
- Pharmacy residency training standards include core drug information retrieval and evaluation skills for both postgraduate year one (PGY1) and postgraduate year two (PGY2) programs.
- Consistent with the profession-wide model for specialist training, the preferred training model for a drug information specialist is a postgraduate year one (PGY1) residency program, followed by completion of a postgraduate year two (PGY2) residency in drug information.
- The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the organization charged with accrediting pharmacy residency programs, outlines areas in which PGY2 programs should prepare pharmacists for specialized practice.
- PGY2 programs in drug information are not limited to health system sites, as many have extended to academic, industrial, and medical writing, managed care, and policy settings.
- Cultivating research skills beyond those built during residency training is accomplished through fellowship programs.
Information retrieval, evaluation, and application skills represent a significant component of the core skill set each pharmacist must possess. Combined with other practice responsibilities that have traditionally been linked to the practice of drug information (e.g., medication use policy), developing and maintaining a cadre of practitioners with an expertise in such activities is also important. This chapter focuses on key models of education and training for all pharmacists, as well as those that specialize in the practice of drug information.
Building basic drug information skills, a signature feature of early doctor of pharmacy degree programs, remains an essential component of contemporary entry-level pharmacy education. Skills are cultivated through both didactic and experiential methods. Although instruction has traditionally been provided in courses dedicated to the topic area, nearly 30% of colleges of pharmacy integrate drug information content into other coursework, as noted in a 2006 publication.1
Regardless of the delivery method, drug information skills are core concepts that must be incorporated in pharmacy curricula. To meet the profession's broader needs, the scope of drug information practice has evolved beyond a focus on literature retrieval, evaluation, and ...