Interprofessional Communication Activities Enable Collaboration Between Nurse Practitioner, Pharmacy Students


Implementing a communication activity between students in pharmacy programs and in doctorate nurse practitioner programs can encourage student growth while preparing them for future interprofessional work.

Implementing a communication activity between students in doctorate nurse practitioner (DNP) programs and in pharmacy programs can encourage student growth while preparing them for future interprofessional work.

Jeremy Daniel, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP, and Alex Middendorf, PharmD, MBA, discussed the interprofessional education activity currently used at their institution, the South Dakota State University (SDSU) College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions.

A well-designed activity fulfills elements from the 2016 standards from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as well as the Center for the Advancement of Pharmaceutical Education (CAPE) standards and meets requirements from the Core Entrustable Professional Activities (CEPA).

For example, Daniel said the activity implemented at SDSU fulfills standard 11 of the ACPE standards by preparing students for effective interprofessional communication. Those standards also specify that these activities can be simulations, such as the SDSU activity. CAPE outcomes also emphasize interprofessional work and specifies that students should be prepared for effective verbal and nonverbal communication when interacting with an individual, group, or organization.

Finally, Daniel said CEPA requirements outline exactly what is required and can be a valuable tool for faculty members looking to develop an interprofessional communication activity. By participating in CEPAs, students should be able to collect information to identify medication-related problems and health-related needs; analyze that information to determine the effects of therapy; determine the appropriate care plan and coordinate with patients, caregivers, and other health professionals; and collaborate as a member of an interprofessional care team.

Middendorf said the SDSU program is designed to satisfy all of these requirements and to prepare students for interprofessional work. In the activity, the pharmacy student receives a case that includes 2 major problems and 2 minor problems. Major problems are defined as those that must be addressed immediately, whereas minor problems will not have a dangerous, immediate effect on the patient.

The students have 10 minutes to review the information before logging into a Zoom meeting also attended by the DNP student and pharmacy faculty. Notably, the pharmacy and DNP student have different pieces of information about the case, requiring them to communicate quickly and effectively.

The students complete the case together in approximately 5 minutes. Once they have established the problems and recommendations, the DNP student leaves the Zoom meeting and contacts their faculty member, who acts as the patient. One case is discussed via phone and 2 cases are discussed via email in an effort to simulate telemedicine situations.

Finally, the pharmacy student receives direct feedback from the pharmacy faculty, using a rubric comprised of rated and open-ended questions. The faculty are provided with key clinical information and preferred recommendations, in case they are less familiar with the specific problems presented in the case.

Relatively simple activities such as this not only enable students to actively engage in the material and encourage self-reflection, but Middendorf emphasized that they are also essential to preparing students to be active participants in an interprofessional care team.


Daniel J, Middendorf A. Development, Implementation, and Evolution of a Pharmacy and Nurse Practitioner Student Interprofessional Communication Activity. Presented at: American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Virtual 2020 Meeting; July 13-31, 2020. Accessed July 23, 2020.

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