Objective. To evaluate the advanced clinical track, a curricular track designed to prepare doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students for residency training and institutional practice.
Design. The advanced clinical track required completion of elective coursework, an additional advanced practice experience, 8 clinical experiences, and a skills checklist, and participation in a clinical skills competition.
Assessment. Thirty-two graduates of the advanced clinical track were surveyed. Of the 23 respondents, 95% of those who pursued residency training were successfully matched with a residency program. Ninety-one percent of respondents felt that the advanced clinical track increased their confidence and 74% felt it was definitely an advantage when applying to a residency program. All participants agreed that the advanced clinical track met their expectations or goals and would recommend it to other students.
Conclusion. Completion of an advanced clinical track was viewed by PharmD graduates as valuable preparation for residency training and institutional practice and would be recommended to other students.
students; curricular track; curriculum; residency; training; survey
Evaluate the academic experience and satisfaction of students enrolled in the dual PharmD/MBA degree program between the South Carolina College of Pharmacy and The Citadel's School of Business Administration. Compare grade point averages of students enrolled in the dual degree program with those of traditional student colleagues.
A standardized satisfaction survey instrument was administered to 32 students currently enrolled in the dual PharmD/MBA degree program. Grade point averages (GPAs) in both pharmacy and business coursework were also collected for analysis.
There were slightly higher percentages of both female and minority students in the dual degree program compared to the pharmacy class as a whole. Eighteen (56%) of students completed the survey, and responses were generally positive. The mean GPA of students in the dual degree program was higher than that of both pharmacy (3.37 vs 3.08, p < 0.001) and business (3.72 vs 3.64, not statistically significant) students not enrolled in the dual degree program.
Students enrolled in the dual degree program did better academically than their counterparts and indicated an overall high level of satisfaction with the program.
dual degree; PharmD/MBA; master of business administration; business
Objective. To identify the manner in which colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States and Puerto Rico assess full-time faculty preceptors.
Methods. Directors of pharmacy practice (or equivalent title) were invited to complete an online, self-administered questionnaire.
Results. Seventy of the 75 respondents (93.3%) confirmed that their college or school assessed full-time pharmacy faculty members based on activities related to precepting students at a practice site. The most commonly reported assessment components were summative student evaluations (98.5%), type of professional service provided (92.3%), scholarly accomplishments (86.2%), and community service (72.3%). Approximately 42% of respondents indicated that a letter of evaluation provided by a site-based supervisor was included in their assessment process. Some colleges and schools also conducted onsite assessment of faculty members.
Conclusions. Most colleges and schools of pharmacy assess full-time faculty-member preceptors via summative student assessments, although other strategies are used. Given the important role of preceptors in ensuring students are prepared for pharmacy practice, colleges and schools of pharmacy should review their assessment strategies for full-time faculty preceptors, keeping in mind the methodologies used by other institutions.
assessment; faculty; preceptors
For pharmacy students to provide optimal and complete pharmaceutical care, it is vital that they develop drug information skills. At the University of Southern California, the School of Pharmacy and the Norris Medical Library have established an interactive educational program. Library programs support an increasingly complex progression of information retrieval, evaluation, organization, application, and communication. Librarians are systematically involved in all four years of coursework for the doctor of pharmacy degree. Training and experience in computer literacy and online database searching are included in the library components. Description of the educational program covers its beginning a decade ago, current status, and future in an environment of rapidly advancing technology.
To characterize pharmacy program standards and trends in drug information education.
A questionnaire containing 34 questions addressing general demographic characteristics, organization, and content of drug information education was distributed to 86 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States using a Web-based survey system.
Sixty colleges responded (73% response rate). All colleges offered a campus-based 6-year first-professional degree PharmD program. Didactic drug information was a required course in over 70% of these schools. Only 51 of the 60 colleges offered an advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) in drug information, and 62% of these did so only on an elective basis.
Although almost all of the PharmD programs in the US include a required course in drug information, the majority do not have a required APPE in this important area.
drug information; course; curriculum; pharmacy education; experiential training; advanced pharmacy practice experience
This is a review of the master's-level curricula of the fifty-eight America Library Association–accredited library and information science programs and iSchools for evidence of coursework and content related to library instruction. Special emphasis is placed on the schools and programs that also offer coursework in medical or health sciences librarianship.
Fifty-eight school and program websites were reviewed. Course titles and course descriptions for seventy-three separate classes were analyzed. Twenty-three syllabi were examined.
All North American library education programs offer at least one course in the general area of library instruction; some programs offer multiple courses. No courses on instruction, however, are focused directly on the specialized area of health sciences librarianship.
Master's degree students can take appropriate classes on library instruction, but the medical library profession needs to offer continuing education opportunities for practitioners who want to have specific instruction for the specialized world of the health sciences.
To characterize the current strategies used in the instruction and assessment of pharmaceutical calculations content through the administration of a nationwide survey.
Instructors of pharmaceutical calculations were invited to complete a 34-item questionnaire designed to gather information on course logistics, content delivery, covered topics, homework, examinations, and retention measures.
Seventy-two colleges and schools responded to the survey. Exactly half of the respondents indicated that they had a standalone pharmaceutical calculations course, while the other half indicated this material was integrated into other coursework. An average of 24.8 hours was devoted to calculations topics. A minimum passing examination score of 70% was reported by 53% of programs. Knowledge retention was formally measured in 16% of programs, while 27% responded that they did not measure retention.
This survey provided the first assessment of the strategies used to teach and assess pharmaceutical calculations content. Further work is needed to determine the optimal teaching and assessment strategies for pharmaceutical calculations, as well as optimal methods of evaluating and promoting retention of this material.
calculations; pharmaceutical calculations; survey; assessment
Objective. To assess course instructors’ and students’ perceptions of the Educating Pharmacy Students and Pharmacists to Improve Quality (EPIQ) curriculum.
Methods. Seven colleges and schools of pharmacy that were using the EPIQ program in their curricula agreed to participate in the study. Five of the 7 collected student retrospective pre- and post-intervention questionnaires. Changes in students’ perceptions were evaluated to assess their relationships with demographics and course variables. Instructors who implemented the EPIQ program at each of the 7 colleges and schools were also asked to complete a questionnaire.
Results. Scores on all questionnaire items indicated improvement in students’ perceived knowledge of quality improvement. The university the students attended, completion of a class project, and length of coverage of material were significantly related to improvement in the students’ scores. Instructors at all colleges and schools felt the EPIQ curriculum was a strong program that fulfilled the criteria for quality improvement and medication error reduction education.
Conclusion The EPIQ program is a viable, turnkey option for colleges and schools of pharmacy to use in teaching students about quality improvement.
quality improvement; medication error; pharmacy education; pharmacy student; assessment; curriculum
To implement and assess a required public health poster project in a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program.
Third-year PharmD students collaborated in pairs to research a public health topic relating to pharmacy practice. Each student group prepared an informational poster, while receiving feedback from a faculty mentor at each stage of the project. The students presented their completed posters at a statewide pharmacy conference.
Faculty members evaluated the posters with a grading rubric, and students completed a survey instrument that assessed the overall experience. In general, faculty members rated the class highly across all domains of the grading rubric. The class generally agreed that the poster project increased their awareness of public health issues related to pharmacy practice, overall knowledge of public health, and presentation skills.
The implementation of a poster project was well received by students and faculty members as an effective method for enhancing public health instruction in the PharmD program at North Dakota State University.
poster presentations; public health; active-learning
To determine which basic and social science courses academic pharmacy administrators believe should be required for entry into the professional pharmacy program and what they believe should be the required length of preprofessional study.
An online survey was sent to deans of all colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States. Survey respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement as to whether the basic and social science courses listed in the survey instrument should be required for admission to the professional program. The survey instrument also included queries regarding the optimal length of preprofessional study, whether professional assessment testing should be part of admission requirements, and the respondents' demographic information.
The majority of respondents strongly agreed that the fundamental coursework in the basic sciences (general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry) and English composition should be required for entrance into the professional program. Most respondents also agreed that public speaking, ethics, and advanced basic science and math courses (physiology, biochemistry, calculus, statistics) should be completed prior to entering the professional program. The preprofessional requirements that respondents suggested were not necessary included many of the social science courses. Respondents were evenly divided over the ideal length for preprofessional pharmacy education programs.
Although requirements for preprofessional admission have been changing, there is no consistent agreement on the content or length of the preprofessional program.
admission; prepharmacy curriculum; prerequisites
Objectives. To compare the elective courses offered by US colleges and schools of pharmacy to establish a benchmark for individual colleges and schools to use in assessing whether they offer a sufficient amount and variety of electives.
Methods. Internet Web sites of US doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) programs were reviewed to identify the number of elective lecture-based courses and elective advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPE) offered and required. Elective courses were grouped into categories to determine the variety of offerings.
Results. Pharmacy students were required to complete a mean of 7 hours of classroom-based elective courses. Thirty-two lecture-based elective courses were offered per college or school, and the mean number of categories of courses offered was 24. An average of 3 required APPEs was offered within 24 categories.
Conclusions. Pharmacy programs varied in the number of and requirements for elective courses. Most elective courses expanded on what was taught in the required curriculum vs informing on unique concepts or skills.
elective course; curriculum; pharmacy practice experiences
To evaluate the correlation between specific prepharmacy college variables and academic success in the Texas Tech doctor of pharmacy degree program.
Undergraduate and pharmacy school transcripts for 424 students admitted to the Texas Tech doctor of pharmacy degree program between May 1996 and May 2001 were reviewed in August of 2005. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS Release 11.5. The undergraduate college variables included prepharmacy grade point-average (GPA), organic chemistry school type (2- or 4-year institution), chemistry, biology, and math courses beyond required prerequisites, and attainment of a bachelor of science (BS), bachelor of arts (BA), or master of science (MS) degree. Measurements of academic success in pharmacy school included cumulative first-professional year (P1) GPA, cumulative GPA (grade point average of all coursework finished to date), and graduation without academic delay or suspension.
Completing advanced biology courses and obtaining a BS degree prior to pharmacy school were each significantly correlated with a higher mean P1 GPA. Furthermore, the mean cumulative GPA of students with a BS degree was 86.4 versus cumulative GPAs of those without a BS degree which were 84.9, respectively (p = 0.039). Matriculates with advanced prerequisite biology coursework or a BS degree prior to pharmacy school were significantly more likely to graduate from the doctor of pharmacy program without academic delay or suspension (p = 0.021 and p = 0.027, respectively). Furthermore, advanced biology coursework was significantly and independently associated with graduating on time (p = 0.044).
Advanced biology coursework and a science baccalaureate degree were significantly associated with academic success in pharmacy school. On multivariate analysis, only advanced biology coursework remained a significant predictor of success.
academic success; pharmacy students; grade point average; graduation; prerequisites; performance
Objective. To determine the effectiveness of a summer pharmacy camp on participants’ pursuit of enrollment in doctor of pharmacy degree programs.
Methods. All participants (n = 135) in a pharmacy camp at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy from 2007-2010 were invited to complete an anonymous online survey instrument.
Results. Seventy-three students completed the survey instrument (54% response rate). Ninety-six percent of pharmacy camp participants said that they would recommend pharmacy camp to a friend, and 76% planned to apply or had applied to doctor of pharmacy degree program. Seven of the camp participants had enrolled in the UAMS College of Pharmacy.
Conclusions. The pharmacy summer camp at UAMS is effective in maintaining high school students’ interest in the profession of pharmacy. Continued use of the pharmacy camp program as a recruitment tool is warranted; however, additional research on this topic is needed.
pharmacy camp; recruitment; admissions; pharmacy students; survey
Effective interpersonal communication skills are needed for pharmacists to deliver patient-centered care. To achieve this outcome with pharmacists, communication skills are emphasized in pharmacy school in required coursework, such as a clinical communication course. One important concept to include in communication coursework is content on perceptions because perceptions influence communication interactions. Specific emphasis should include a focus on self-perceptions and self-concept, because related empirical literature demonstrates that accurate academic self-concepts predict academic success. These results were extrapolated to a pharmacy clinical communications course where a lecture and laboratory series was designed to emphasize self-concept and facilitate communication skills improvement. The instructional design of this series promoted the advancement of students’ communication skills by using communication inventories, self-reflection activities, peer and class discussion, and lecture content. Class discussions, self-reflections, and baseline, and follow-up counseling activities throughout the semester provided evidence of improvements.
communication; self-concept; self-esteem; curriculum
To describe current objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) practices in doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) programs in the United States.
Structured interviews were conducted with PharmD faculty members between September 2008 and May 2010 to collect information about awareness of and interest in OSCE, current OSCE practices, and barriers to OSCEs.
Of 108 US colleges and schools of pharmacy identified, interviews were completed for a representative sample of 88 programs (81.5% participation rate). Thirty-two pharmacy programs reported using OSCEs; however, practices within these programs varied. Eleven of the programs consistently administered examinations of 3 or more stations, required all students to complete the same scenario(s), and had processes in place to ensure consistency of standardized patients' role portrayal. Of the 55 programs not using OSCEs, approximately half were interested in using the technique. Common barriers to OSCE implementation or expansion were cost and faculty members' workloads.
There is wide interest in using OSCEs within pharmacy education. However, few colleges and schools of pharmacy conduct OSCEs in an optimal manner, and most do not adhere to best practices in OSCE construction and administration.
objective structured clinical examination (OSCE); assessment; testing; examination
Objective. To assess the prevalence and characteristics of curriculum in dual doctor of pharmacy (PharmD)/master of public health (MPH) degree programs offered by US pharmacy programs.
Methods. An 18-item survey instrument was developed and distributed online to faculty members at US colleges and schools of pharmacy.
Results. Of the 110 colleges and schools that responded, 23 (21%) offered a PharmD/MPH degree. Common characteristics of these 23 programs included current PharmD program structure (3 + 1 year), early curricular recruitment, small enrollment, and interdisciplinary coursework occurring online and in the classroom. The impact of the dual degree on the curriculum and longevity of the dual-degree programs varied. About 55% of responding programs without a formal dual-degree program reported that additional public health training was available.
Conclusion. Twenty-one percent of colleges and schools of pharmacy offer a combined PharmD/MPH dual degree. Most programs required an additional 1 or 2 semesters to complete both degrees.
pharmacy education; public health; masters of public health; dual degree
Objective. To characterize and describe admission variables predictive of poor grade attainment by students in 2 pathways to a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program.
Methods. A retrospective analysis of course grades of PharmD students admitted from 2000 to 2009 (N= 1,019) in the traditional degree pathway (“1 plus 5” degree program) and the provisional pathway (admitted directly from high school) was performed.
Results. Four hundred three grades of D or less were earned by 183 (18%) students. There were more grades of D or less in the first pharmacy year. Receipt of an unsatisfactory grade was associated with all Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) subcategory scores, PCAT composite score, cumulative prepharmacy coursework hours, prepharmacy grade point average (GPA), prepharmacy science and math GPA, and interview score for accepted students in the traditional pathway. For students in the provisional pathway, PCAT-quantitative analysis, PCAT composite score, prepharmacy cumulative GPA, prepharmacy science and math GPA, English American College Testing (ACT) score, and composite ACT score predicted poor grades.
Conclusion. Admissions committees should heed PCAT scores and GPAs, regardless of program pathway, while progression committees should focus on early program coursework when designing strategies to optimize retention.
admission; pharmacy students; grades; academic performance; retention
Students in pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, medicine, and public health frequently are required to take a computer course. Unfortunately, crowded professional degree curricula can limit their exposure to computers to this single course. In the 1980's, health science students tend to have minimal prior experience with computing. Therefore, the instructor must balance the coursework to teach both about computers and about computer applications in health. A key question is, “What fundamentals do students need to appreciate the innovation in state-of-the-art systems?”
The authors have confronted this question and report on an approach which is flexible enough to fit a variety of curricular constraints. It uses integrated educational software and a locally-produced DOS essentials booklet augmented by modules of programming, systems analysis, and/or applications. Evaluations from classes totalling over 200 students demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach.
To assess the prevalence of curricular programs or other structured activities designed to prepare students for and to promote residency training.
An electronic survey instrument containing 12 questions regarding institutional demographics and activities related to pharmacy student preparation for residency training was sent to administrators of all US colleges and schools of pharmacy.
Ninety-one survey instruments were e-mailed to US colleges and schools of pharmacy administrators, and an overall response rate of 78% was attained. Twenty-two percent of respondents identified a structured curricular program to prepare students for postgraduate training. In addition, informal programs or informational sessions varying in scope and content were offered by many colleges and schools to prepare students for residency training.
Many of the US colleges and schools of pharmacy reported structured activities or programs that promote residency training to students. Ten programs had a designated clinical-track curriculum.
students; curriculum; residency; survey
To document teaching evaluation practices in colleges and schools of pharmacy.
A 51-item questionnaire was developed based on the instrument used in a previous study with modifications made to address changes in pharmacy education. An online survey service was used to distribute the electronic questionnaire to the deans of 98 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States.
Completed surveys were received from 89 colleges and schools of pharmacy. All colleges/schools administered student evaluations of classroom and experiential teaching. Faculty peer evaluation of classroom teaching was used by 66% of colleges/schools. Use of other evaluation methods had increased over the previous decade, including use of formalized self-appraisal of teaching, review of teaching portfolios, interviews with samples of students, and review by teaching experts. While the majority (55%) of colleges/schools administered classroom teaching evaluations at or near the conclusion of a course, 38% administered them at the midpoint and/or conclusion of a faculty member's teaching within a team-taught course. Completion of an online evaluation form was the most common method used for evaluation of classroom (54%) and experiential teaching (72%).
Teaching evaluation methods used in colleges and schools of pharmacy expanded from 1996 to 2007 to include more evaluation of experiential teaching, review by peers, formalized self-appraisal of teaching, review of teaching portfolios, interviews with samples of students, review by teaching experts, and evaluation by alumni. Procedures for conducting student evaluations of teaching have adapted to address changes in curriculum delivery and technology.
teaching; evaluation; assessment; survey
Objective. To determine graduate and postgraduate students’ perceptions of a drug use management and policy program that applied wide-ranging policy research skills to inform pharmaceutical decision-making.
Design. Nine cohorts of graduate and postgraduate students from diverse academic and professional backgrounds were paired with health-system preceptors for 4 months, and supported by faculty advisors and administrators, to complete research projects that generated evidence to inform policy decisions.
Assessment. A self-administered survey instrument was sent to all alumni of the program over the previous 10 years. The majority of respondents indicated: their prior academic coursework could be applied to everyday life; service-learning projects complemented university programs; participation led to greater awareness of decision-makers’ needs and appreciation of their tacit knowledge; and communication abilities were enhanced with decision-makers, and academics. Many also reported personal desire to fulfill healthcare-system research needs; personal belief in their ability to make a difference; and increased postgraduation marketability.
Conclusion. A drug use management and policy program allowed graduate students from various disciplines to develop new skills and collaborate with experts to produce research evidence that was relevant to drug policy that addressed real-world problems.
pharmaceutical policy; service-learning; assessment; engaged scholarship; residency; knowledge co-production
Formal guidelines for mentoring faculty members in pharmacy practice divisions of colleges and schools of pharmacy do not exist in the literature. This paper addresses the background literature on mentoring programs, explores the current state of mentoring programs used in pharmacy practice departments, and provides guidelines for colleges and schools instituting formal mentoring programs. As the number of pharmacy colleges and schools has grown, the demand for quality pharmacy faculty members has dramatically increased. While some faculty members gain teaching experience during postgraduate residency training, new pharmacy practice faculty members often need professional development to meet the demands of their academic responsibilities. A mentoring program can be 1 means of improving faculty success and retention. Many US colleges and schools of pharmacy have developed formal mentoring programs, whereas several others have informal processes in place. This paper discusses those programs and the literature available, and makes recommendations on the structure of mentoring programs.
mentoring; faculty development; mentor; pharmacy practice; faculty
To determine the content and extent, design, and relative importance of patient assessment courses in the professional pharmacy curriculum.
A 20-item questionnaire was developed to gather information pertaining to patient assessment. Pharmacy practice department chairs were mailed a letter with an Internet link to an online survey instrument.
Ninety-six percent of the programs indicated that patient assessment skills were taught. Forty-five percent of respondents indicated their course was a standalone course. The most common topics covered in assessment courses were pulmonary examination, vital signs, and cardiovascular assessment.
There is significant variability in the topics covered, depth of content, types of instruction, and evaluation methods used in patient assessment courses in US colleges of pharmacy. This survey was an initial assessment of what is being done regarding education of student pharmacists on patient assessment.
curriculum design; laboratory instruction; patient assessment; physical assessment
To determine the extent of pharmacoeconomics education at US pharmacy colleges and schools in 2007.
An e-mail survey was developed and sent to pharmacoeconomics instructors at all US colleges of pharmacy.
Of the 90 colleges and schools of pharmacy that completed the survey, 7 colleges and schools did not currently have someone teaching pharmacoeconomics (eg, new school or looking for instructor). For the 83 colleges and schools that had an instructor who taught pharmacoeconomics, 69 covered pharmacoeconomic-related topics in a required course only; 5, in an elective course only; and 9, in both a required and elective course. The number of hours of pharmacoeconomic-related topics presented in required courses ranged from 1 to 48 hours (mean = 21 ± 14; median = 19).
Pharmacoeconomics education courses are offered at the majority of US colleges and schools of pharmacy. There was a wide range of hours devoted to pharmacoeconomic-related topics and the topics covered in these colleges and schools varied. Although the majority of US colleges and schools of pharmacy offer pharmacoeconomics courses, official guidelines are needed for the specific aspects and topics that should be covered in the classroom.
Objective. To design and implement a required student-driven research program as a capstone experience in the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum.
Design. A research proposal in the form of a competitive grant application was required for each of 65 fourth-year students in an inaugural PharmD class at Touro College of Pharmacy in New York. The focus of the proposals was on hypothesis-driven research in basic science, clinical research, health outcomes, and public health.
Assessment. Students’ research proposals were graded using a standardized grading instrument. On a post-experience survey, most students rated the overall experience positively, indicating increased confidence in their research skills. About two-thirds of faculty members were satisfied with their students’ performance, and the great majority thought the experience would be useful in the students’ careers.
Conclusion. The capstone research project was a positive experience for fourth-year students.
student research; research; curriculum; scholarship