Plenary presentations

Monday 10 July

Plenary 1:

Learning in workplaces
Tim Wilkinson

Learning in workplaces is opportunistic and unpredictable yet effective and important.  Helping people learn in workplaces is more than sitting down and teaching. This presentation explores factors that help many health professionals learn in workplaces and draws on research from both teachers and learners. Some of the things that help are deceptively simple yet often missing.

Tuesday 11 July

Plenary 2:

Achieving a fit-for-purpose health workforce to achieve universal health coverage by 2030 – what is the transformative pharmacy workforce agenda?
Tana Wuliji

Four-hundred million people globally lack access to one or more essential health services, 100 million are pushed into poverty and 150 million people suffer financial catastrophe because of out-of-pocket expenditure on health services.  The globally agreed ambition of achieving Universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030 as one of the Sustainable Development Goals could change the future of health and health care.

Socio-economic development, increasing health expenditure and demographic transitions could lead to an unprecedented global demand for 80 million health workers by 2030 – double the current supply of health workers. With the right policies, transformative reforms and investments into the health workforce, this trend may present a unique and timely opportunity to convert decades of under-investment and workforce mismatches into progress towards a fit-for-purpose health workforce and more inclusive economic growth. Failure to act could result in a needs-based shortfall of 18 million health workers in 2030, in primarily low- and lower-middle income countries.

The Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health was unanimously adopted at the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016.  It provides a collective framework to ensure the universal availability, accessibility, acceptability, coverage and quality of the health workforce for UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Its implementation will be catalyzed by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. The pharmacy workforce plays a critical role in achieving UHC – by enabling access to and rational use of medicines; enhancing the accessibility, effectiveness and efficiency of promotive, preventative  and curative health services; supporting public health and community engagement; advancing the evidence base, science and technology for better health; and as advocates for better governance for health.  This presentation will explore these issues, implications and opportunities for the pharmacy workforce agenda.

Linking the transformative workforce agenda with education in developing countries using the FIP Workforce Development Goals
Patricia Acuña-Johnson

Health care officials today are responsible for establishing public policies to guarantee people their right to health. Social, cultural and demographic changes, characterised by an increasing life expectancy of the population and the occurrence of chronic non communicable diseases, are some of the challenges that health care suppliers face around the world. Development of tailored biological drugs to treat certain diseases is a major current milestone in pharmacotherapy, while ensuring the population has access to safe, effective, quality medicines at the lowest cost and increasing antimicrobial resistance are two of the biggest challenges to all countries, especially to those with budget constraints.

Ensuring access to medicines involves not only making them available to their beneficiaries, but it is also necessary to count on qualified professionals to give patients the information and education they need, and ensure adherence to maximally efficient therapy that has minimum risks. The use of drugs also requires systematic active monitoring and pharmacovigilance, with feedback to regulatory authorities for the population’s health.

Under this referential framework, schools and faculties of Pharmacy, and particularly teachers, play an important role in educating pharmacists of society’s needs in the years to come.  The pharmacy student has to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes to communicate with people and enable them to make healthy choices. Beyond budget and technological resources, today’s situation in the classroom or in the learning environment depends on academics being able to encourage their students to be responsible of becoming the center of the teaching–learning process. Students are exposed to an infinite amount of information and social networks allowing instant communication. However, all of these options neither guarantee true knowledge nor possess the interpersonal skills students need to communicate and interact with others. Students are individual human beings, all different at the same time, and the use of a variety of different pedagogic tools based on various active learning methodologies will support them to reach their learning outcomes.

The presentation deals with these aspects of the teaching and learning process, the role of the faculties of pharmacy, and the importance of the academic leadership in carrying out different strategies to reach the professional outcomes, particularly in countries with noticeable social and economic differences.

Wednesday 12 July

Plenary 3: Ready to go, Ready to grow

Assessment speed dating: Using the multiple mini-interview to evaluate non-cognitive attributes
Jacqui McLaughlin, Wendy Cox

Non-cognitive attributes, also referred to as professional attributes or skills, are vital to the success of health care providers. These attributes generally include non-academic indicators such as empathy, collaboration, leadership, and integrity. A growing body of literature demonstrates the need  for  health care providers to possess these non-cognitive skills, including the ability to work collaboratively on interdisciplinary health care teams and to communicate effectively.

While the importance of these attributes is widely accepted, the challenge is defining and assessing them. In an effort to assess these types of skills, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy implemented a Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) as part of its new curriculum. In the MMI, students rotate through  a  series of brief (6 minute) interviews, each with a single faculty member. This method enables us to differentiate among students using targeted assessment of a single non-cognitive construct at each of 5–7 stations.

We selected the MMI based on literature supporting its use as a reliable assessment of non-cognitive attributes with less bias than other assessments. In this session, we will describe our experience with the MMI, including how we implemented and assessed it, and planned next steps to assess student  outcomes  in the PharmD curriculum.

Selecting for non-academic attributes: Research, theory and practice
Fiona Patterson

Across the globe, selection and admissions processes in the healthcare professions continue to attract strong public interest, and often criticism regarding accuracy, fairness and widening participation. Whilst academic achievement is consistently a good predictor of subsequent performance, it cannot  be  assumed that those with high academic ability alone can be trained to become competent clinicians. Little research attention has focused on methods that reliably evaluate important (non-academic) personal attributes, values and motivational qualities. In exploring these issues, results of a systematic  literature  review are presented to examine the quality of evidence for various selection methods. Implications for theory, policy and practice are discussed.

Panel / debate: Pharmacy education is preparing students for yesterday's practice, not tomorrow's
Martin Henman and Simon Bell for the affirmative
Tim Chen and Tina Brock for the negative

Followed by audience discussion and questions.