Flexible Education Initiative Launched to Help Pharmacists Tackle Cardiovascular Disease

Posted on: 06 November 2013

A new flexible educational initiative for community and hospital pharmacists has been launched by The School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Trinity College Dublin. The educational module entitled ‘Cardiology in Clinical Pharmacy Practice’ offers the latest training in managing cardiovascular patients in both the hospital and community settings through a distance learning approach.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Ireland. Approximately 10,000 people die each year from heart disease including coronary heart disease and stroke. As a result, the Health Service Executive has placed a high priority on tackling this issue and has put a national strategy in place, with clinical care programmes specifically designed to address the key areas of concern.

The aim of the module is to equip pharmacists with the requisite knowledge and skills to optimise management of cardiovascular patients in both the hospital and community settings and in doing so, to improve patient safety and the pharmaceutical care of this patient group. Evelyn Deasy, Chairperson of the Cardiology Special Interest Group of the Hospital Pharmacists’ Association, Ireland (HPAI) said: “The pharmacist’s role in managing medication use, optimising treatment and encouraging medication adherence in established cardiovascular disease is well recognised.  

More important still is the pharmacist’s key role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, in helping patients to lead healthier lives and reducing the need for more costly forms of care. 80% of cardiovascular disease can be prevented by the elimination of risk factors. The pharmacist is very accessible and hence ideally placed to recognise and intervene early to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Pharmacists have contributed successfully to reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol and to smoking cessation programmes.”

Speaking about the benefits of the distance learning approach, Niamh McMahon, Course Coordinator, Cardiology in Clinical Pharmacy Practice in the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital said: “At a time of economic crisis, when pharmacists have suffered cuts to their staffing levels in both hospital and community sectors, this module provides a flexible option to complete Continuing Professional Development (CPD) online, enabling the pharmacists to up skill and fulfil the CPD requirements of the Irish Institute of Pharmacy in their own spare time.”

She continued: “The initial response has been extremely positive with the Autumn intake already full and further applicants on a waiting list for Spring. This is the first such standalone module to be delivered by the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity and in response to the keen interest among pharmacists for this type of flexible learning, we hope to deliver further standalone modules in relation to other therapeutic areas in the future.”

Ronan Quirke, Community Pharmacist said: “The flexible nature of this course will ensure that community pharmacists can learn and engage in educational materials at their own pace and time. The utilisation of different teaching methods and tools will keep pharmacists engaged and motivated throughout the 12 weeks of the course. At the end of the course, pharmacists will be confident that their renewed skills in cardiovascular disease will make a telling contribution to this cohort of society.”

The educational module is open to registered pharmacists working in community or hospital practice. The course will run over approximately 12 weeks, predominantly online, and will carry 5 credits under the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

For more information please go to: www.pharmacy.tcd.ie/postgraduate/cardiology_clin_pharm_mod.php

For media queries please contact: Yolanda Kennedy, Press Officer for the Faculty of Health Sciences, Trinity College Dublin at yokenned@tcd.ie or tel: +353 8963551