Evaluating educational preparation for a health education role in practice: the case of medication education
Current health care policy and practice contexts in the UK point to the importance of nurses’ ability to make an effective contribution to educating patients about medication, as part of their role in health education and health promotion. Nurses’ potential contribution to this important activity will inevitably be dependent on knowledge and skills acquired during preregistration and postregistration programmes of education. Against this backdrop, changes in pre and postregistration nurse education in the UK in the past decade highlight the importance and timeliness of evaluating the adequacy of educational preparation for a medication role. This paper reports on the findings from an evaluation of UK educational preparation for a medication education role in practice. A case study design was used to investigate current educational preparation at three education institutions. Multiple methods of data collection at each site involved focus group discussions with lecturers and practitioners, individual interviews with key personnel, nonparticipant observation of teaching sessions, postobservation interviews with students and curriculum analysis. Findings highlighted the importance of a number of dimensions of preparation for practice of such a role: the need for sufficient taught pharmacology; opportunities for application and integration of prerequisite knowledge and skills; the importance of practice-based learning; the need for an evidence-based curriculum, and the importance of clarifying outcomes and competencies required for a medication education role within pre and postregistration curricula. The paper concludes with a discussion and implications of the findings.