An evaluation of the translation of continuing education into diabetes public health care by pharmacists
Background Pharmacists are assuming greater public health roles and partaking in continuing education to advance knowledge and skills necessary for the provision of this patient care. Objective We sought to determine what conditions in a Middle East context influence how community pharmacists actually incorporate new information into practice. Setting Community pharmacies in Qatar. Methods A continuing professional development (CPD) program regarding the management of fasting diabetes patients during Ramadan was developed and delivered. Participants then maintained a record of their patient encounters when attempting to screen fasting diabetes patients for risk and offer medication, lifestyle, and monitoring advice. Diary entries were coded using inductive methods and follow-up focus group discussion was conducted to further corroborate the thematic analysis. Main outcome measureFacilitators and barriers to care. Results Forty-one pharmacists attended the CPD program and 35 subsequently made at least one diary entry during the 3-weeks preceding and during Ramadan. One-hundred and forty-eight submitted records and the transcript of one focus group (n = 6) were analyzed. Three main factors were found to influence pharmacists’ ability to engage use new knowledge and skills: situational, patient, and pharmacist. Patient reception was the overwhelming influence whereby positive interactions encouraged pharmacists to continue screening and counseling attempts, but difficult encounters were negative reinforcing stimuli in almost equal measure. Conclusion In this Middle East setting, environmental factors play a considerable role in the pharmacists’ ability to engage in public health care and reinforce that continuing education for health professionals must be closely aligned with the realities of practice and purposefully considered as part of its evaluation.