Objectives. To evaluate hospital and outpatient pharmacists’ pharmacogenomics knowledge before and 2 months after participating in a targeted, case-based pharmacogenomics continuing education program.
Design. As part of a continuing education program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), pharmacists were provided with a fundamental pharmacogenomics education program.
Evaluation. An 11-question, multiple-choice, electronic survey instrument was distributed to 272 eligible pharmacists at a single campus of a large, academic healthcare system. Pharmacists improved their pharmacogenomics test scores by 0.7 questions (pretest average 46%; posttest average 53%, p=0.0003).
Conclusions. Although pharmacists demonstrated improvement, overall retention of educational goals and objectives was marginal. These results suggest that the complex topic of pharmacogenomics requires a large educational effort in order to increase pharmacists’ knowledge and comfort level with this emerging therapeutic opportunity.
pharmacogenomics; continuing education; genetic testing; survey; personalized medicine
Objective. To determine whether using 3-dimensional (3D) technology to teach pharmacy students about the molecular basis of the interactions between drugs and their targets is more effective than traditional lecture using 2-dimensional (2D) graphics.
Design. Second-year students enrolled in a 4-year masters of pharmacy program in the United Kingdom were randomly assigned to attend either a 3D or 2D presentation on 3 drug targets, the β-adrenoceptor, the Na+-K+ ATPase, and the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.
Assessment. A test was administered to assess the ability of both groups of students to solve problems that required analysis of molecular interactions in 3D space. The group that participated in the 3D teaching presentation performed significantly better on the test than the group who attended the traditional lecture with 2D graphics. A questionnaire was also administered to solicit students’ perceptions about the 3D experience. The majority of students enjoyed the 3D session and agreed that the experience increased their enthusiasm for the course.
Conclusions. Viewing a 3D presentation of drug-receptor interactions improved student learning compared to learning from a traditional lecture and 2D graphics.
3-dimensional; virtual reality; drug-receptor interactions; pharmacology
Objective. To develop and implement a 1-credit-hour oncology pharmacy practice elective course for third-year pharmacy students and assess its impact on examination scores in a required pharmacotherapeutics course.
Design. Major topics were identified to focus on therapeutic management and supportive care of the oncology patient. Psychosocial topics were incorporated to help pharmacy students better relate to oncology patients.
Assessment. Learning was assessed by means of 2 computer-based examinations, weekly reflection posts, and a completed oncology service-learning project and reflection paper. Students enrolled in the course achieved higher pharmacotherapeutics oncology section examination scores than students who had not taken the course. Also, this course increased students’ interest in oncology pharmacy.
Conclusion. The oncology pharmacy elective course has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students and student enrollment continues to grow. We will continue to offer this course to future practitioners.
oncology; cancer; pharmacy; elective course; curriculum; pharmacotherapy
Objective. To describe the redesign of a large self-care course previously delivered in a traditional lecture format to a small-group case-based course.
Design. Prereadings and study guides were used to facilitate students’ independent learning prior to class. Large lecture classes were replaced with smaller group-based learning classes. This change in delivery format allowed students to spend the majority of class time conducting small-group learning activities, such as case studies to promote communication, problem solving, and interpersonal skills.
Assessment. Changes in course delivery were assessed over a 2-year period by comparing students’ grades and satisfaction ratings on course evaluations. A comparison of course evaluations between the class formats revealed that students were provided more opportunities to develop verbal communication skills and tackle and resolve unfamiliar problems in the revised course. The activities resulted in better overall course grades.
Conclusions. Redesigning to a small-group discussion format for a self-care course can be accomplished by increasing student accountability for acquiring factual content outside the classroom. Compared with student experiences in the previous large lecture-based class, students in the smaller-class format reported a preference for working in teams and achieved significantly better academic grades with the new course format.
problem-based learning; pharmacy education; active learning; self-care; nonprescription drugs; flipped classroom
Objective. To develop, implement, and review a competence-assessment program to identify students at risk of underperforming at advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) sites and to facilitate remediation before they assume responsibility for patient care.
Design. As part of the standardized client program, pharmacy students were examined in realistic live client-encounter simulations. Authentic scenarios were developed, and actors were recruited and trained to portray clients so students could be examined solving multiple pharmacy problems. Evaluations of students were conducted in the broad areas of knowledge and live performance.
Assessment. Measurements included student-experience survey instruments used to evaluate case realism and challenge; videos used to determine the fidelity of standardized clients, and clerkship performance predictions used to identify students who required individual attention and improvement prior to clerkship courses.
Conclusions. The assessment program showed promise as a means of discriminating between students who are prepared for APPEs and those at risk for underperforming.
assessment; performance; patient; advanced pharmacy practice experience; standardized client
Objective. To determine whether a required interprofessional geriatric medication activity within a senior mentor program changed pharmacy and medical students’ attitudes regarding interprofessional collaboration.
Design. Interprofessional teams, consisting of 1 third-year pharmacy student and 2 second-year medical students, conducted an in-home interview and medication history with a senior mentor (geriatric patient). The team members then collaboratively analyzed and discussed the patient’s medication use and wrote an essay in which they identified the patient’s medication problems and reflected on the interprofessional experience.
Assessment. Students completed a validated survey instrument to measure pharmacist-physician attitudes about interprofessional collaboration before and after the experience. Pharmacy and medical students’ already generally positive attitudes regarding interprofessional relationships were maintained and, in some instances, significantly improved. Students found the activity enhanced their geriatric training and increased their understanding of an interprofessional team.
Conclusion. Incorporation of a geriatric medication activity within a senior mentor program maintained or improved pharmacy and medical students’ positive attitudes about interprofessional collaboration and enhanced geriatric training within the curriculum.
interprofessional; senior mentor; geriatric; attitudes
Objective. To design, integrate, and assess the effectiveness of a medical humanities teaching module that focuses on pharmaceutical care for dementia patients.
Design. Visual and textual dementia narratives were presented using a combination of teacher and learner-centered approaches with the aim being to highlight patients’ and caregivers’ needs for empathy and counselling.
Assessment. As gauged from pre- and post-experience questionnaires, students highly rated this approach to teaching medical humanities. In-class presentations demonstrated students’ increased sensitivity to patient and caregiver needs, while objective learning outcomes demonstrated students’ increased knowledge and awareness.
Conclusions. Pharmacy students were open to and successfully learned from reading and discussing patient and caregiver narratives, which furthers the discussion on the value of integrating the medical humanities into the curricula of pharmacy and other health sciences.
medical humanities; pharmaceutical care; Alzheimer’s disease; learning outcomes; evaluation; assessment
Objective. To develop and implement an elective course on vitamins and minerals and their usefulness as dietary supplements.
Design. A 2-credit-hour elective course designed to provide students with the most up-to-date basic and clinical science information on vitamins and minerals was developed and implemented in the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum. In addition to classroom lectures, an active-learning component was incorporated in the course in the form of group discussion.
Assessment. Student learning was demonstrated by examination scores. Performance on pre- and post-course surveys administered in 2011 demonstrated a significant increase in students’ knowledge of the basic and clinical science aspects of vitamins and minerals, with average scores increasing from 61% to 86%. At the end of the semester, students completed a standard course evaluation.
Conclusion. An elective course on vitamin and mineral supplements was well received by pharmacy students and helped them to acquire knowledge and competence in patient counseling regarding safe, appropriate, effective, and economical use of these products.
vitamins; minerals; dietary supplements; pharmacy curriculum; elective course
In a series of 3 papers on survey practices published from 2008 to 2009, the editors of the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education presented guidelines for reporting survey research, and these criteria are reflected in the Author Instructions provided on the Journal’s Web site. This paper discusses the relevance of these criteria for publication of survey research regarding pharmacy colleges and schools. In addition, observations are offered about surveying of small "universes" like that comprised of US colleges and schools of pharmacy. The reason for revisiting this issue is the authors’ concern that, despite the best of intentions, overly constraining publication standards might discourage research on US colleges and schools of pharmacy at a time when the interest in the growth of colleges and schools, curricular content, clinical education, competence at graduation, and other areas is historically high. In the best traditions of academia, the authors share these observations with the community of pharmacy educators in the hope that the publication standards for survey research about US pharmacy schools will encourage investigators to collect and disseminate valuable information.
survey; pharmacy education; sample size; response rate; research
Every discipline within fields of research has instituted guidelines and templates for research endeavors and subsequent publications of findings, with the ultimate result being an increase in quality and acceptance by researchers within and across disciplines. These significant efforts are by nature ongoing, as well they should. These enhancements and guideline developments have been instituted in basic science disciplines, clinical pharmacy, and pharmacy administration relevant and related to subsequent scholarly publication of research findings. Specific research endeavors have included bench research, clinical trials and randomized clinical trials, meta analyses, outcomes research, and large scale database analyses. A similar need for quality and standardization also exists for survey research and scholarship. The purpose of this paper is to clarify why this is important and crucial for the Journal and our academy.
Objective. To determine if defined subgroups of pharmacists’ have variability in their expectations for competency of entry-level practitioners.
Methods. Rating scale data collected from the 2009 National Pharmacy Practice Survey were analyzed to determine to what extent pharmacists' degree, practice setting, and experience as a preceptor were associated with the ratings they assigned to 43 competency statements for entry-level practitioners. The competency statements determine the content on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX).
Results. Pharmacists with a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree rated the co mpetency statements higher in terms of criticality to entry-level practice than did those with a bachelor of science (BS) degree (p< 0.05). Pharmacists working in inpatient settings gave slightly higher ratings to the competency statements than did pharmacists working in outpatient settings, pharmacists without direct patient care responsibilities, and those in academia. However, there were no significant differences among practitioner subgroups' criticality ratings with regard to practice setting. Preceptor pharmacists' criticality ratings of the competency statements were not significantly different from those of non-preceptor practitioners.
Conclusion. Pharmacists exhibited a fair amount of agreement in their expectations for the competence of entry-level practitioners independent of their practice sites and professional roles. As the pharmacy profession embraces patient-centered clinical practice, evaluating practicing pharmacists’ expectations for entry-level practitioners will provide useful information to the practitioners and academicians involved in training future pharmacists. Stakeholders in pharmacy education and regulation have vested interests in the alignment of the education of future practitioners with the needs of the profession.
pharmacist; NAPLEX; competency; performance standards
Objective. To introduce PharmD students to changes in calculations question types (constructed-response versus selected-response questions); measure and compare student performance on constructed-response and selected-response questions in a pharmaceutics course; and collect student feedback on the use of differing question types.
Methods A pharmaceutics/pharmaceutical calculations examination was administered that included 15 pairs of questions; each pair consisted of a constructed-response question and a similar selected-response question. An online questionnaire was conducted to collect student feedback.
Results. Of the 15 topics, the class scored higher on the constructed-response question for 4 topics and higher on the selected-response question for 10 topics. Eighty percent of the class preferred selected-response questions, although 47.8% felt constructed-response questions better prepared them for a career in healthcare.
Conclusions. Students correctly answered more selected-response questions than constructed-response questions and felt more confident in doing so. Additional constructed-response teaching and testing methods should be incorporated into pharmacy education.
pharmaceutical calculations; NAPLEX; constructed response; selected response; question type
Objectives. To identify factors associated with academic help-seeking behavior among student pharmacists at a public university.
Methods. Semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted to explore in depth perceptions of facilitators of and barriers to the help-seeking behavior and academic achievement of student pharmacists who had received a D or F grade in any year. A 4-part survey instrument was developed and administered to all student pharmacists and included sections for (1) attitudes and academic help-seeking behavior, (2) health status, (3) demographics, and (4) open comments. A structural equation modeling approach was used to assess relationships among domains of interest.
Results. Three student focus groups noted that helpfulness of faculty members and school administrators were 2 prominent facilitators of help-seeking behavior and academic achievement. Diminished quality of life caused by stress and depression was the primary barrier to help-seeking and achievement. Three hundred four (68.6%) student pharmacists completed the survey instrument. Academic help-seeking behavior was influenced mostly by perceived academic competence and perceived faculty helpfulness. In contrast, ambivalence and perception of help-seeking as threatening were 2 factors that were negatively associated with academic help-seeking behavior.
Conclusions. Academic help-seeking behavior was positively related to greater perceived academic competence and positive relationships among student pharmacists and faculty members.
help-seeking behavior; academic competence; ego orientation; student pharmacists; student affairs
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
Objective. To investigate students' use and views on social networking sites and assess differences in attitudes between genders and years in the program.
Methods. All pharmacy undergraduate students were invited via e-mail to complete an electronic questionnaire consisting of 21 questions relating to social networking.
Results. Most (91.8%) of the 377 respondents reported using social networking Web sites, with 98.6% using Facebook and 33.7% using Twitter. Female students were more likely than male students to agree that they had been made sufficiently aware of the professional behavior expected of them when using social networking sites (76.6% vs 58.1% p=0.002) and to agree that students should have the same professional standards whether on placement or using social networking sites (76.3% vs 61.6%; p<0.001).
Conclusions. A high level of social networking use and potentially inappropriate attitudes towards professionalism were found among pharmacy students. Further training may be useful to ensure pharmacy students are aware of how to apply codes of conduct when using social networking sites.
students; social networking; media; professionalism
Objective. To develop communication skills in second-year pharmacy students using a virtual practice environment (VPE) and to assess students’ and tutors’ (instructors’) experiences.
Design. A VPE capable of displaying life-sized photographic and video images and representing a pharmacy setting was constructed. Students viewed prescriptions and practiced role-playing with each other and explored the use of nonverbal communication in patient-pharmacist interactions. The VPE experiences were complemented with lectures, reflective journaling, language and learning support, and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs).
Assessment. Most students believed the VPE was a useful teaching resource (87%) and agreed that the video component enabled them to contextualize patient problems (73%). While 45% of students questioned the usefulness of watching the role plays between students after they were video recorded, most (90%) identified improvement in their own communication as a result of participating in the tutorials. Most tutors felt comfortable using the technology. Focus group participants found the modified tutorials more engaging and aesthetically positive than in their previous experience.
Conclusion. The VPE provided an effective context for communication skills development classes.
communication; counseling; virtual environment; simulation; pharmacy students; video; tutorials
An appropriate balance between teaching, scholarship, and service is important for a faculty member to have a satisfying and successful career. The relative emphasis on each area normally changes during the course of a career. Although some level of scholarly output is an ongoing and fundamental expectation of all faculty members, this activity is too often given low priority, particularly among faculty members in practice areas who may have a minimal background in research and large demands on their time for teaching and clinical service. Addressing this issue requires establishing a shared commitment between administrators and faculty members, as well as identifying or developing education programs that will ensure research competence for practice faculty members. This paper provides insights into the role that scholarship and research should have for all pharmacy faculty members and provides suggestions for how to better advance this critical component within academic pharmacy.
peer-review; scholarship; research; faculty