Background: Antimicrobial resistance is a public health issue and is the focus of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) teams within health care institutions. However, AMS is not comprehensively and fully taught in medical or pharmacy curricula and little is known about the relevance of pharmacist training to meet AMS needs in the Middle East region. We aimed to explore the discord that may exist between infectious diseases education and actual clinical practice with regard to AMS knowledge and training skills in Qatar. Then, we sought to further explore pharmacist perceptions of their AMS roles in hospital environments.
Methods: A qualitative study was undertaken at Qatar University using three focus groups consisting of 15 pharmacy alumni who are currently practicing as clinical pharmacists in Qatar. Focus groups were facilitated using a topic guide developed by study investigators. Discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Results were analyzed using framework analysis.
Results: Two major themes related to the first objective emerged throughout the discussions and associated recommendations made to improve (i) infectious diseases (ID) module content and delivery and (ii) ID knowledge and skills application. Two themes related to the second objective included (i) impact of pharmacist’s interventions on decision-making and (ii) continuing professional development programming.
Conclusion: Our findings guide ongoing efforts to enhance ID content in the curriculum and will close gaps related to AMS training. Pharmacists are core AMS team members where there is an ongoing need to align continuing education for health professionals with realities of practice.