Pharmacy Students Teaching Prescription Writing and Nonprescription Product Selection to Medical Students

Sheila M. Allen, PharmD; Marlowe Djuric Kachlic, PharmD; Louise Parent-Stevens, PharmD


Am J Pharm Educ. 2020;84(3):6972 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Objective: To measure the impact of an interprofessional education intervention in which pharmacy students provided education to medical students.

Methods: In a required workshop, fourth-year pharmacy students taught second-year medical students the basics of prescription writing. In a subsequent selective education session, the pharmacy students led a case-based discussion on nonprescription drug use for third-year medical students on their family medicine rotation. The pharmacy students were surveyed in regards to confidence in teaching abilities before and after the prescription writing workshop and the medical students were surveyed in regards to confidence with activity and teaching effectivess prior to and after the completion of the workshop or selective.

Results: At the end of the workshop, second-year medical students were more confident in their abilities to write prescriptions and fourth-year pharmacy students were more confident in their ability to teach prescription writing. Based on survey responses, the second-year medical students and fourth-year pharmacy students were confident in the learning environment effectiveness throughout the activity. After participating in the selective education session, third-year medical students were more confident in their ability to access resources on nonprescription drugs and in making recommendations to and counseling patients regarding nonprescription drug use.

Conclusion: The perception is that pharmacy students can be effective interprofessional educators for medical students on key aspects of the medical curriculum.


Interprofessional education (IPE) is becoming increasingly important as the US healthcare system moves towards more team-based patient care. As such, the 2003 Institute of Medicine's report, Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality, spoke about a "new vision" for health professions education, recommending work in interdisciplinary teams as a core competency for health professions education.[1] In 2013, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) standards required the incorporation of IPE into Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree curricula.[2] Similarly, in 2014, the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) implemented a new medical school accreditation standard addressing the role of IPE in support of team-based care.[3] These requirements for IPE within curricula have extended across health education disciplines as outcomes suggest that IPE may positively impact patient care outcomes.[4]

Health professions students gain a better understanding of professional roles through their participation in IPE activities.[5,6] However, published literature related to IPE activities involving pharmacy students to date has typically centered on models where the faculty member or clinician from a given health discipline is serving as the teacher for an interprofessional activity or an interprofessional team of health care students are serving as teachers to the lay public. Thus, the specific model of the pharmacy student serving as the primary teacher within an individual IPE activity has not been documented.

At the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, faculty members have engaged with faculty members in the college of medicine in regards to two distinct initiatives where pharmacy students serve as the primary teacher within an IPE activity: prescription writing and nonprescription product selection. We hypothesized that using pharmacy students as teachers within these IPE initiatives would be an effective teaching endeavor and improve both the pharmacy and medical students' confidence in the pharmacy students' teaching abilities. Additionally, we hypothesized that this teaching model would also improve medical students' receptiveness to learning from other health professions students as well as pharmacy students' receptiveness to teaching other health professions students.