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CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
COUNSELLING IN PRACTICE
1. Which ONE of the following is TRUE
regarding the communication skills
a pharmacist should use during
a) Language should be comprehensive
and exhaustive, ensuring all information
about a medicine is relayed to a
b) All information should be
communicated verbally and CMI leaflets
only provided to consumers from a
non-English speaking background.
c) Consultation should happen in an open
public place to ensure the consumer
feels comfortable asking questions.
d) Active listening should be employed
in order for the consumer to raise
concerns and questions they may have.
2. Regarding concordance, in a study
done by Osterberg and Blaschke of
patients treated for chronic diseases,
what proportion of patients were
found to take their medicines exactly
a) One in six patients.
b) Two in six patients.
c) Three in six patients.
d) Four in six patients.
3. According to the NPS MedicineWise,
consumer medicines information
(CMI) leaflets should be provided in
the following cases:
a) When therapy is changed from
immediate-release to slow-release
b) When a new medicine is first provided
to the consumer.
c) When information is requested by a
d) All of the above.
4. Which ONE term best describes the
consumer as an equal partner in
a shared decision-making process
concerning treatment regimen(s),
outcomes and behaviours?
5. At high serum levels, lithium may
cause the following side effects:
a) Urinary frequency, agitation, bloating
b) Dry skin, itch, palpitations and increased
c) Confusion, unsteadiness, nausea and
d) Insomnia, agitation and elevated pulse.
Where can I find more information?
As previously mentioned, the CMI leaflets
provided for medicines provide an
excellent resource to guide counselling for
consumers on their prescribed medicines.
The Maudsley prescribing guidelines
provide an excellent reference for
psychotropic medicines, including details
pertaining to side effects, treatment
algorithms and comparison tables.
After gaining insight into Matt’s condition
and current level of understanding about
lithium carbonate, you are able to provide
information specific to his condition and
treatment. You ensure you speak to Matt
in a private counselling area and he asks
questions relating to therapy duration
and side effects. Matt states that although
he has found his diagnosis with bipolar
disorder to be difficult, he is encouraged that
maintenance treatment may provide relief
from the depressive episodes which he has
been experiencing for years. You provide
a CMI leaflet to support your counselling
and flag this interaction in your dispensing
software to ensure further counselling and
planned follow up is provided at Matt’s next
visit to your pharmacy.
Effective counselling has a positive
impact on patient care and therapeutic
outcomes. A pharmacist should use
a range of counselling skills when
speaking with consumers about their
medicines. Information regarding
concordance and potential adverse
effects is important when counselling
on antipsychotic therapy due to the risk
of poor concordance and subsequent
detrimental outcomes for patients with
mental health illnesses.
1. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Professional practice
standards, version 4. Canberra: PSA; 2010.
2. Psychotropic Expert Group. Therapeutic Guidelines:
Psychotropic. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines; 2013.
3. Osterberg L, Blaschke T. Adherence to medication. N Engl J
4. Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Counselling paitents
on medicines: a quick reference guide. 2011. At:
5. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Consumer medicine
information and the pharmacist. Canberra: PSA; 2007.
6. Terrie YC. 10 behaviors of effective counselors. Pharmacy
7. Day J, Bentall R, Roberts C, et al. Attitudes toward
antipsychotic medication: the impact of clinical variables
and relationships with health professionals. Arch Gen
8. Happell B, Manias E, Roper C. Wanting to be heard: mental
health consumers’ experiences of information about
medication. Int J Ment Health Nurs 2004;13(4); 242–8 .
9. Rossi S, ed. Australian medicines handbook. Adelaide;
Australian Medicines Handbook; 2015.
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