The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the development of medicine education by examining pupils’ perceptions of medicines and medicine use.
Fourth graders’ (n=51, aged 10-11) perceptions about medicines and their use were collected in one school through mixed-methods using a questionnaire, a drawing and discussions.
Listing several over-the-counter medicines, pupils most frequently perceived that medicines are meant for treating headaches, wounds or temporarily when they are sick or have some pain, and that medicines help to ease symptoms and speed recovery. Pupils mentioned getting information about medicines from the pharmacist, the internet, the physician, as well as from medical packages.
This study was carried out in one school context and is therefore not necessarily generalizable, it does, however, bring an awareness of concrete pedagogical needs to the debate on health education and was conducted using methods that, to some extent, can be transferred to any school setting.
These results show that medicine education should already be started in primary school, along with critical thinking skills related to use of the internet.
The development of medicine education may help improve the wellbeing of pupils.
The triangulation of data used in the paper are in the authors’ awareness unique in the context of medicine education. The results particularly highlight the role of the internet in medicine education, thus suggesting the importance of critical thinking.
This work was supported by FIMEA, Finnish Medicine Information Agency. The authors would like to thank Dr Anu Hartikainen-Ahia and the research assistants for their co-operation.
Kärkkäinen, S., Hämeen-Anttila, K., Vainio, K., Kontturi, S., Patrikainen, R. and Keinonen, T. (2014), "Fourth graders’ perceptions about medicines and medicine use", Health Education, Vol. 114 No. 1, pp. 43-57. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-03-2013-0009Download as .RIS
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