Educating across disciplines: Bloomberg Nursing teaches clinical skills to pharmacy students

21 July 2015

By Susan Pedwell

Two years ago, U of T’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy asked Bloomberg Nursing if it could teach their students how to perform physical assessments and give injections. Erica Cambly took on the challenge, and the Bloomberg lecturer developed a course which she taught to 240 second-year pharmacy students.

The collaboration began because in 2012, pharmacists were given an expanded scope of practice, including the performance of physical assessments and the controlled act of administering an injection. Now they have the authority to give flu shots in their pharmacy, which provides the public with greater access to this service.

Pharmacists with stethoscopes

“Today’s pharmacists need to know how to take vital signs – blood pressure, pulse, temperature, respiration,” explains Cambly, MN 0T5. In our Nursing Simulation Lab, the pharmacy students practised these skills in a variety of ways , including taking each other’s blood pressure and listening to each other’s heart and lung sounds.

Erica Cambly and Mary Arsanious practice proper injecting techniques.

Erica Cambly (left), a Bloomberg Nursing lecturer, instructs pharmacy student Mary Arsanious in proper injection techniques.

To learn how to give a needle, they used injection training pads.  “These spongy pads allow students to practise subcutaneous and intra-muscular injections,” says Cambly.

“There’s a lot more to giving a needle than just the injection – there’s consent, assessing the patient, checking for allergies, infection control and landmarking, knowing where to inject. I went slowly, focusing on safety for both the patient and the practitioner.”

In a unique assessment method, the students submitted, along with their reflections, a video in which they demonstrated their skill in pre-paring and delivering an injection.

Click on play

As part of the required course, Cambly lectured in one of the pharmacy building’s grand auditoriums and developed an online learning module that required students to find information on immunization and government standards on the Internet. “I think it’s important to teach students that practice and standards of care change. Completing this module helps pharmacy students to know how to find the information they’ll need.”

To prepare the learning module, Cambly drew on the expertise she developed while creating a module with Fareed Teja, Bloomberg’s academic information and communication technologist. This module on chronic wound care allows nursing students to learn at their own pace and assess their knowledge by taking “Checks for Understanding” quizzes.

What Cambly has learned from teaching pharmacy students is that they share many of the same con-cerns as those enrolled in nursing. “They’re eager to learn how to pro-vide safe, professional care through practical, hands-on learning.”

This story originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of Pulse Magazine.

PHOTO: John Packman