Of the 281 students who graduated from the pharmaceutical care pathway from 2006-2008, 235 (83.6%) submitted a PCPP evaluation survey instrument. Six incomplete survey instruments were excluded from analysis, yielding a final sample of 229 survey instruments (81.5% response rate). The majority of students worked in groups (n=211), with an average of 3.4 ± 0.9 students per project. Eighteen students (7.9%) worked on individual projects. Of respondents who worked in groups, 82.2% specified that all group members participated equally in the research process. However, respondents who worked in groups of 3 or 4 students were significantly less likely to agree that all members participated equally (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between respondents who worked in groups and those who worked individually with respect to their perception of the overall experience and whether the amount of time they were able to spend on their research project was adequate.
Of the 224 respondents who specified postgraduate plans, approximately half intended to pursue postgraduate training in residency (115) or fellowship (1) programs. Nearly 40% planned to begin practice in community pharmacy (59; 26.3%) or hospital/institutional practice (26; 11.6%) settings. The remainder of the 224 respondents were undecided (12; 5.4%) or specified other postgraduate plans, such as establishing a consulting business, or working in a combination of community and hospital pharmacy settings (11; 4.9%).
Students expressed positive perceptions of the PCPP experience and provided favorable responses (ie, agreed or strongly agreed) to questions about the research project (Table ). The 3 survey items receiving the highest overall agreement were that students were pleased with the selection of a project advisor (89.9%) and project topic (89.1%), and that the project was a valuable learning experience (88.2%). While only 67% of students reported that they were adequately prepared at the start of the process to conduct the project, approximately 87% believed that they could independently conduct a similar project as a result of the experience. A smaller percentage (51.3%) reported they were more likely to conduct research in the future because of this experience. A small number of students provided unfavorable responses (ie, disagreed or strongly disagreed) to statements about the research project experience. Survey items that elicited the strongest disagreement were: more likely to conduct research in the future because of the project experience (14.5%); the school should continue to require a research project for students in the pathway (10.6%); the amount of time the student was able to devote to the project was adequate (8.3%); and as a result of the project experience, students were more qualified/marketable for postgraduate job opportunities (7.0%).
Student Perceptions of the Pharmaceutical Care Pathway Project Experience
Stratification of responses to other survey items based on postgraduation plans revealed significant differences among respondents (Table ). Respondents planning to pursue a residency or fellowship were more likely to agree that by the end of the process, they had acquired enough knowledge and skills to independently conduct a similar research project compared to students with postgraduation plans to work in hospital or institutional pharmacy (p < 0.05). Respondents planning to pursue a residency or fellowship more often agreed that because of the project they were more likely to conduct research in the future compared to students with plans to work in community pharmacy after graduation (p < 0.05). Furthermore, students planning to work in community or hospital/institutional pharmacy were less likely to agree that the school should continue to require a research project for the pharmaceutical care pathway (p < 0.05), and that as a result of the project experience, they were more qualified/marketable for postgraduate job opportunities (p < 0.05).
Student Perceptions of the Pharmaceutical Care Pathway Project Experience Stratified by Postgraduation Plans
Students reported favorable perceptions of their project advisor (Table ). The majority of students agreed or strongly agreed that their advisor had adequate training and expertise to serve as the project advisor (93.8%), promoted ethical conduct of research (93.5%), dedicated an adequate amount of time for project oversight (88.2%), provided ongoing and constructive feedback (88.1%), developed the students’ research skills (87.8%), and enhanced their critical thinking skills (87.8%).
Student Perceptions of the Primary Advisor of the Pharmaceutical Care Pathway Project (N = 229a)
When responses were stratified by faculty status of the primary advisor (paid or volunteer), significant differences were found (Table ). Respondents who worked with paid faculty members were more likely to agree that the project advisor helped to develop their research skills (p < 0.05) than those who worked with volunteer faculty members. Similarly, students completing projects with paid faculty advisors were significantly more likely to agree that the advisor enhanced critical thinking skills, had adequate training and expertise to serve as the advisor for the project, and promoted ethical conduct of research compared to respondents completing projects with volunteer faculty members (p < 0.05). However, it appeared that students generally perceived their interactions with advisors favorably, regardless of the faculty status of the advisor.
Student Perceptions of the Primary Advisor of the Pharmaceutical Care Pathway Project Stratified by Faculty Status