How pharmacy and medicine students experience the power differential between professions: "Even if the pharmacist knows better, the doctor's decision goes"

Josephine Thomas, Koshila Kumar, Anna Chur-Hansen

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    Abstract

    Interprofessional Education (IPE) is one approach to improving communication and collaborative practice between professions, which are essential for the optimal delivery of healthcare. Common barriers include negative attitudes, professional stereotypes, professional cultures and power differentials between professional groups. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore how professional hierarchies and power differentials shape interprofessional interactions between preregistration pharmacy and medicine students. Data were gathered via semi-structured interviews and subject to thematic analysis. Four main themes were identified: Reproducing traditional hierarchies; Social norms around respect; Hierarchies in care values and goals; and Challenging the narrative is possible. Students' interactions with and views of the other profession largely reflected traditional stereotypes and power differentials. Hierarchy was evident in how respect was accorded and in how care values and goals were managed. Despite this, students overwhelmingly perceived and reported a sense of agency in changing the status quo. Emerging professional identity and conceptualisation of future roles is heavily influenced by the hierarchical relationship between the professions and can pose a significant barrier to collaborative practice. Greater support for collaborative interprofessional practice is needed at the level of policy and accreditation in health education and healthcare to ensure greater commitment to change.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0256776
    Number of pages12
    JournalPLoS One
    Volume16
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2021

    Keywords

    • Interprofessional Education
    • IPE
    • pharmacy
    • medicine
    • pharmacist
    • doctor
    • healthcare

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