JAC Antimicrob Resist. 2020 Jul 16;2(3):dlaa035. doi: 10.1093/jacamr/dlaa035. eCollection 2020 Sep.
BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of data on pharmacists' competency and learning needs in antimicrobial stewardship (AMS).
OBJECTIVES: To identify and prioritize learning needs based on self-perceived competence of ward pharmacists in AMS, to identify predictors of self-perceived competence, learning methods in AMS and perceived barriers to learning.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey involving ward pharmacists from Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HCTM) and hospitals under the Ministry of Health was conducted from May to July 2018.
RESULTS: A total of 553 ward pharmacists from 67 hospitals responded to this survey (71.3% response rate). Knowledge of infections, antimicrobials and AMS systems, confidence to advise on various issues relating to antimicrobial therapy and participation in clinical audit and evaluation were among the learning needs identified (median score 3.00). Meanwhile, knowledge on the epidemiology of infections, off-label use of antimicrobials and pharmacoeconomics relating to antimicrobials had lower median scores (2.00) and were thus prioritized as high learning needs. Significant predictors of self-perceived competence in AMS were: gender (P < 0.001); prior specific training in infections and AMS (P < 0.001); postgraduate degree (P < 0.001); practising in the area of infectious disease (P < 0.05); and years of working experience as a ward pharmacist (P < 0.005). Continuing medical education, seminars, courses and workshops were the most common (78.1%) and preferred (84.6%) learning methods in AMS. Lack of appropriate training (67.8%), time (44.5%) and funding (42.5%) topped the list of barriers to learning in AMS.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings in this study suggest the need to establish and intensify standardized training in AMS among government ward pharmacists.