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J Interprof Care. 2009 Mar;23(2):169-84. doi: 10.1080/13561820802602552.

Collaboration between pharmacists, physicians and nurse practitioners: a qualitative investigation of working relationships in the inpatient medical setting.

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Epidemiology Coordinating and Research (EPICORE) Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


While collaborative, team-based care has the potential to improve medication use and reduce adverse drug events and cost, less attention is paid to understanding the processes of well functioning teams. This paper presents the findings from key informant interviews and reflective journaling from pharmacists, physicians and nurse practitioners participating in a multicentre, controlled clinical trial of team-based pharmacist care in hospitalized medical patients. A phenomenological approach guided the data analysis and content analysis was the primary tool for unitizing, categorizing and identifying emerging themes. Pharmacists experienced highs (developing trusting relationships and making positive contributions to patient care) and lows (struggling with documentation and workload) during integration into the medical care team. From the perspective of the participating pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physicians, the integration of pharmacists into the teams was felt to have facilitated positive patient outcomes by improving team drug-therapy decision-making, continuity of care and patient safety. Additionally, the study increased the awareness of all team members' potential roles so that pharmacists, nurses and physicians could play a part in and benefit from working together as a team. Focussed attention on how practice is structured, team process and ongoing support would enable successful implementation of team-based care in a larger context. ( number, NCT00351676).

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