For the past several years, doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students in the Medicare Part D elective have worked side-by-side with students from University of San Francisco’s nurse practitioner (NP) program at Medicare Part D health care outreach events. This past year, there were opportunities for interprofessional collaboration between PharmD students and students from Pacific’s physician assistant (PA) program as they worked side-by-side at Medicare Part D events.

Prior to the Fall 2017 outreach events, students from the NP and PA programs came to Stockton for a combined class with PharmD students. Students from each of the programs learned about the educational training received by, and common practice settings of, graduates of the respective programs. In addition, students learned about potential opportunities for interprofessional collaboration and the roles of each on a health care team. Moreover, the crux of the joint classes was to allow students from the different programs to work on simulated patient cases, in which both Medicare Part D plan review and medication therapy management (MTM) services were provided.  

The joint class activities mimicked a real-world beneficiary intervention that students were likely to see at an event. In addition to learning from their counterparts, Medicare students instructed PA and NP students on how to evaluate prescription drug plans under the Part D benefit, create a personalized medication record, provide comprehensive MTM services and initiate a prescriber communication form.

“It was great to work with students from other health care professions and get a chance to look at patient care from a different perspective.”

– Kevin Chan ’19

Overall, the classroom training provided an excellent opportunity for students to gain insight into the perspectives of providers from different health care disciplines, while also preparing students for interdisciplinary collaboration in real-world situations.

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“My interprofessional collaboration with NP and PA students proved to be an invaluable experience. We learned about each other’s roles in depth and ultimately realized that optimal patient care is achieved through collective efforts of the medical team.”

– Hyungchul “Henry” Kim ’19

Fast forward to the fall, where NP and PA students worked with pairs of PharmD students to help conduct Part D and MTM interventions. PharmD students were able to help beneficiaries with their Part D plan and provide a comprehensive review of their medications. NP and PA students educated beneficiaries about disease states and healthy lifestyles. Not only did students learn about each other’s role in patient care, but they were able to combine their areas of expertise to ensure that beneficiaries got the most out of each intervention.

“Working with students representing different health care professions at our Medicare events proved to be extremely advantageous to the beneficiaries. We were able to address their different concerns in one convenient location without the time constraints they would normally experience in a pharmacy or at a doctor’s office.“

– Caitlin Tipple ’19

Learning how to communicate and interact with other health care professionals and knowing the role each provider plays is essential in delivering the highest quality of care to patients. Ultimately, these students will carry the lessons, skills and knowledge they gained through these interprofessional experiences into their future careers.

By Michelle Vo ’19
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