Author:
Andres Tennus

Doctoral Defence: Kristiina Sepp “Competency based and person-centered community pharmacy practice – development and implementation in Estonia”

On 31 March at 12:00 Kristiina Sepp will defend her doctoral thesis “Competency based and person-centered community pharmacy practice – development and implementation in Estonia”.

Supervisors:
Associate Professor Daisy Volmer, University of Tartu
Professor Ain Raal, University of Tartu
Associate Professor Afonso Miguel das Neves Cavaco, University of Lisbon (Portugal)

Opponent:
Associate Professor Susanne Kaae, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

Summary
The community pharmacies are the most accessible health care facilities, where the service is provided by pharmacists and assistant pharmacists. However, the population's general awareness of what information and advice they could receive at the pharmacy is low. This result was confirmed by a study conducted among 552 pharmacy customers. Furthermore, it also outlined that the experience and expectations of medicines counseling in the pharmacy differ. Those who did not consider a pharmacist their primary contact for medicines-related problems would turn to a general practitioner or look for information on the Internet. The limited experience of medicines counseling in the pharmacy also affected the expectations of receiving different medicines-related services in the future. The lack of privacy in the pharmacy was also often considered an obstacle for not entering into a deeper communication with the pharmacist.

The pharmacy self-evaluation survey conducted in 2014–2019 also pointed out that ensuring privacy in a pharmacy is a difficult challenge. The same study outlined that there has been no significant change in the quality of pharmacy services, although the guideline "Community Pharmacy Services Quality Guidelines" was introduced in 2012.

The development of pharmacy services also requires a change in professional competencies. Education based on the needs and expectations of society must be ensured both at the university and in continuing education. In recent years, the pharmacy education at the University of Tartu has undergone a considerable updates: new teaching methods, modernized pharmacy practice, and more practitioners have been involved in teaching. In order to increase the professional knowledge and practical skills of pharmacy students and to maintain the competence of working pharmacists, the cooperation between the university and the pharmaceutical sector must be improved.

In summary, people's convenient access to pharmacies and the professional knowledge of pharmacists are an invaluable asset to healthcare, but partially used professional competences and little involvement with health care have distanced pharmacies from health care system.

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