Journal Title:  Journal of Pharmacy Teaching | Vol:  12 | Issue:  2 | Year:  2005   
Print ISSN:  1044-0054 | Online ISSN:     

Visualizing the Clinical Thinking Process to Prepare Students for Effective Patient Counseling

Assistatn Professor Dr. Lilian H. Hill Ph.D
Dean Beverly A. Talluto Pharm.D and M.P.H

pages: 69 - 81


Students in the health professions need guidance in learning the process of clinical communications with patients. An assignment in a pharmacy communications course is described that uses visual learning to engage students in planning for patient counseling. Participation in the communications planning assignment demonstrates a mental process experienced practitioners use to prepare for patient counseling. The ability to visualize the clinical thinking process is one of the first steps in formation of the cognitive skills necessary for professional practice. The assignment concept map template has sections that prompt students to consider (1) different tools for patient communications, (2) a patient's needs for information, (3) his/her ability to comprehend and act on information, and (4) barriers to communicating with the patient. Based on a patient case, students answer four questions: (1) What does the patient already know about their medication(s)?, (2) What does the pharmacist need to tell the patient?, (3) What strategies are needed for overcoming communications barriers?, and (4) What is the students' plan for patient counseling? Facilitating the visualization and fostering the development of critical thinking skills are an important part of professional education.