The objective of this study was to describe h how one method of incorporating the certificate training program into the curriculum. The overall goal was to optimize immunization instruction in the curriculum.
The decision to incorporate the certificate course into the curriculum was approved at a department of pharmacy practice faculty retreat in May 2006. The faculty agreed that the course should be mandatory and that courses in infectious disease (Spring P2) and immunology (Spring P2) should be prerequisites. The decision to require the certificate course for all students was based on the changing scope of pharmacy practice in Pennsylvania and was consistent with the department and school's mission to provide a dynamic and innovative pharmacy curriculum. In addition, incorporating the course into the curriculum would enable students to meet the professional outcomes of promoting public health through public awareness of health and disease. Therefore, with departmental and administrative support, it was decided to require the certificate course over 3 Pharmacy Care Lab sessions in the spring P3 year.
Pharmacy Care Lab is a 5-semester course designed to give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the pharmacy curriculum to practical patient care situations. Each week, the Care Lab assignments focus on different topics that have been covered in the didactic curriculum. In many laboratories, students have the opportunity not only to develop a therapeutic care plan but also to practice patient counseling through role playing. Simulated patient scenarios give students the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in “real life” situations. Furthermore, drug information, team building, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and self and peer assessments are also emphasized throughout the five-semester sequence. Prior to the adoption of Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery into the curriculum, students received some immunization education in 2 laboratories within Pharmacy Care Lab V in the spring of the P3 year. However, these laboratories did not include specific immunization technique and assessment.
The Pharmacy Care Lab sequence seemed the most appropriate course in which to integrate the immunization training program because of the sequence's unique use of active learning and patient-case scenarios. Table describes the schedule of topics for the 3 Care Labs dedicated to the delivery of the immunization program. Students were given the self-study materials during the first week of Care Lab and instructed to complete the 12 hours of self-study materials for submission during the final week of lab. Due to the university holiday schedule, students in the Monday and Friday sections had 3 weeks to complete the self-study materials, while those in the Wednesday section had 2 weeks. Cost of program materials was included in Pharmacy Care Lab fees as part of tuition expenses. The P4 advanced practice students wishing to take the program received the materials at cost and paid for them prior to participating in the course. Some students expressed anxiety and reservations about completing the injection technique as part of a required component of the curriculum. These students met with the instructors on an individual basis to discuss their concerns.
Table 1 Schedule of Topics for Pharmacy-Based Immunization Deliverya
Current CPR certification was required of students who wished to participate in the certificate training. The College of Pharmacy and Nursing coordinated the training through the American Red Cross. The certification course was offered during the spring semester of their P1 and P3 year. Students were financially responsible for the cost of the program.
The Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery program included an evaluation form that students completed during the final hour of the live training seminar. This form asked participants to evaluate the program, the quality of the speakers, and the perceived impact of the material on clinical practice. The results were then compiled and sent to APhA. An additional survey was administered to students in WebCT (Blackboard, Inc., Washington, DC). The purpose of this survey was to evaluate all of the Care Labs in the second half of the spring semester. However, the survey included 2 questions that pertained specifically to the immunization laboratories. These questions were directed at determining whether students felt the instructors were knowledgeable and well prepared and whether students felt they had learned a lot in the laboratories. The responses were recorded on a Likert scale and asked students to strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, and strongly disagree. In addition, students were given an opportunity in the survey to add comments or suggestions for the particular laboratory or laboratory instructor. After students completed the Pharmacy Care Lab survey, another survey, sent to participating faculty members, focused on concerns that arose from the student survey. Results of the faculty survey could be used to improve the course the next year. Table lists the 10 statements included in the faculty survey.