Practising pharmacists want more nutrition education
Mirkazemi, C and Williams, M and Berbecaru, M and Stubbings, T and Murray, S and Veal, F and Cooper, N and Bereznicki, L, Practising pharmacists want more nutrition education, Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 14, (11) pp. 1420-1430. ISSN 1877-1297 (2022) [Refereed Article]
Introduction: Although pharmacists are first and foremost medication specialists and suppliers, in Australia they are also ideally positioned within the healthcare setting to encourage and support positive lifestyle choices in the community. Little has been done to assess their nutrition knowledge in over 20 years. We aimed to explore pharmacists’ nutrition knowledge and associated practice, and to subsequently develop and evaluate the efficacy of a short course to fill any gaps identified.
Methods: The General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire was revised for testing nutrition knowledge in the pharmacy setting. Once validated, the questionnaire was distributed to pharmacists using social and professional media advertising. A short course was then developed, and its effectiveness assessed on final-year pharmacy students.
Results: Pharmacists’ mean score was 89.9/121 (SD 10.6, N = 258), with significant variation. Nutrition education provision in practice was provided inconsistently and associated with how strongly participants rated their own knowledge, and not their actual nutrition knowledge. Most pharmacists (95.7 %) agreed they are well-placed to assist in disease burden reduction through nutrition education, however most (98.4 %) felt their knowledge needed improvement. The short course was well received by participants, deemed to be appropriate in context, and resulted in a median improvement in matched scores of 14.7 % (p < 0.001), with no significant decline in knowledge when reassessed 3 weeks later (-0.83 %, p = 0.383).
Conclusion: Pharmacists’ nutrition knowledge and practice is variable. Further education can improve knowledge without significant time outlay and is likely to improve associated counselling practices.