SERVICE-LEARNING PROJECT AS A TOOL TO IMPROVE EDUCATIONAL KNOWLEDGE ON PHARMACOLOGY

During the past academic year (2020-2021), we carried out a service-learning (ApS) project entitled "Strategies for rational use of medicines by elderly people to improve the quality of life and to promote the overall well-being". A total of 41 students (31 women and 10 men) belonging to the Pharmacy Degree as well as to the Double Degree in Pharmacy and Nutrition (3rd, 4th and 5th courses) from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) participated in the project. The ApS project was aimed at elderly people who regularly attended the senior center of the City Council of Coslada (Madrid). The students, supervised by their teachers, performed eight workshops regarding aspects such as the therapeutic compliance, rational use of medicines and early identification of adverse drug reactions. Due to the pandemic, the workshops were conducted by means of videoconferences. Once the project ended, a survey was addressed to the students to assess their perception regarding to which extent, the participation in the ApS project contributed to improve their knowledge of pharmacology. The results showed that more than 90% of the students considered that their participation in this project reinforced and/or increased their knowledge. In addition, more than 90% of the students emphasized that the interest in their professional careers as pharmacist and/or nutritionist was also boosted. Furthermore, 88% of students valued their participation as useful for their future professional careers. Finally, summing up to the highly satisfactory evaluation of the students, the project allowed to the supervisors for the identification of a variety of drug-related problems among the elderly people (i.e. potential drug interactions, mismanagement), that opens the door to new collaborative interventions. Thus, we consider that the collaborative ApS projects among Universities and Public Service Entities are useful tools that integrate the achievement of academic competences and the educational growth of the general elderly population regarding the rational use of drugs.