(1994; 60 pages)
5.5 Postgraduate education and research
Schools of pharmacy have traditionally offered postgraduate education in pharmaceutical sciences, usually involving research. This should be continued in order to support specialist development in practice. In addition to postgraduate education in technical subjects, schools should offer courses related to specialized aspects of practice.
Pharmaceutical education in schools of pharmacy should be supported by substantial research activity, and it should be an objective of each school that members of the academic staff have a research commitment. Traditionally research has been concerned with the pharmaceutical sciences. Today there is an increasing need for research into aspects of pharmacy practice. The recent major inquiry in the United Kingdom (2) commented on the lack of data about pharmacy practice that should be available as the basis for future development of policy. Research into practice conducted by schools of pharmacy, involving collaboration between academic and practising pharmacists, could provide such information and therefore should be encouraged.
Research: health services and manpower
In addition to research in the pharmaceutical sciences, schools of pharmacy are, increasingly, concerned with research into pharmacy practice and the use of drugs in therapeutics including in some countries the evaluation of traditional medicines. This research may include investigations into prescribing practices, patterns of drug usage, the monitoring of adverse reactions, the pharmacists’ advisory role, computerized data handling, health economics, legislation, and the various aspects of abuse and non-rational use of drugs. This type of research is particularly relevant to promoting the rational and proper use of drugs, and to the planning, and the objectives, methods and evaluation, of undergraduate and continuing education.
Practising pharmacists are taking part in health-systems research, and this is to be encouraged as a means of providing databases for future development. In view of the close professional collaboration between physicians and pharmacists, collaborative research projects on the rational use of drugs are particularly indicated. The experience and the results benefit physicians, pharmacists and patients alike. Many such projects are undertaken within the hospital/institutional environment, but schools of pharmacy can do much to promote similar projects between community pharmacists and general medical practitioners.
The main purpose of manpower research is to improve decision-making in health manpower development, i.e., the planning, production and management of manpower (1, pp. 73-76).