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1.  Improvisational Exercises to Improve Pharmacy Students' Professional Communication Skills 
Objective
To create and implement improvisational exercises to improve first-year pharmacy students' communication skills.
Design
Twelve 1-hour improvisational sessions were developed and added to an existing/established patient communication course to improve 3 basic skills: listening, observing and responding. Standardized patient examinations were used to evaluate student communication skills, and course evaluations and reflective journaling were used to evaluate students' perceptions of the improvisational exercises.
Assessment
The improvisational exercises markedly improved the students' performance in several aspects of standardized patient examination. Additionally, course evaluations and student comments reflected their perception that the improvisational exercises significantly improved their communication skills.
Summary
Improvisational exercises are an effective way to teach communication skills to pharmacy students.
PMCID: PMC2690892  PMID: 19513173
communication; improvisation
2.  Research-related Coursework and Research Experiences in Doctor of Pharmacy Programs 
Objectives
To evaluate the research-related coursework and research experiences in doctor of pharmacy programs and compare the findings to those of 2 previous studies.
Methods
A questionnaire was mailed to 88 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States and Puerto Rico. The survey instrument sought information on formal research-related coursework; required and elective research experiences; and perceptions of student-conducted research.
Results
Seventy-nine colleges and schools completed the questionnaire for a response rate of 88%. Most colleges (>90%) required students to study/complete courses in biostatistics and drug information/literature evaluation; approximately half required research methods coursework. Twenty-five percent required some form of project and requirements were not influenced by class size. Students could often work in teams to complete projects. Respondents generally thought participation in research had some value for motivated students.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates the variability in extent of research-related coursework and research experiences in PharmD programs across the country.
PMCID: PMC2690916  PMID: 19503697
research education; education; pharmacy research

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