Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Practice Settings, Job Responsibilities, and Job Satisfaction of Nontraditional PharmD and BS Pharmacy Graduates

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Practice Settings, Job Responsibilities, and Job Satisfaction of Nontraditional PharmD and BS Pharmacy Graduates

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Nontraditional doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) programs were developed during the 1980s and 1990s primarily to assist practicing pharmacists with bachelor of science (BS) degrees in returning to school on a part-time basis to obtain the PharmD degree. Most of these programs were designed for distance delivery and provided flexible scheduling options that enabled pharmacy practitioners to continue working during their enrollment in the program.

Research on the outcomes of nontraditional PharmD programs has been limited. Piascik and colleagues surveyed the first 30 graduates of the University of Ken tucky's nontraditional PharmD program and reported that job responsibilities for graduates were more clinical compared to pharmacists with only a BS degree. (1) Fjortoft and Engle reported significant changes in practice setting, promotions, and increased levels of job satisfaction among 137 nontraditional PharmD graduates from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sixty-nine percent of respondents indicated that they had received a promotion or job change after obtaining the PharmD degree. Those graduates also reported a decrease in how much prescription processing they did and an increase in clinical, management, educational, and research activities, as well as greater job satisfaction. Respondents selected improved clinical skills, better patient care, and remaining current with knowledge as the 3 most important benefits of obtaining a PharmD degree. (2) In another study of 399 nontraditional PharmD graduates, Fjortoft and colleagues found these graduates had significantly higher levels of job satisfaction in their first position as a PharmD-trained pharmacist than in their last position as a BS-trained pharmacist. In addition, there were significant changes in practice settings and job titles among respondents. After receiving the PharmD degree, respondents reported a decrease in work in community practice settings and an increase in "other" practice settings such as long-term care, home health care, and academia. Furthermore, there was a decreased number working as staff pharmacists and an increased number working as clinical pharmacists. Eighty-eight percent of the 399 respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the nontraditional PharmD program prepared them to perform at a higher level of practice. (3)

Evaluation of job satisfaction and practice settings between first professional degree, postbaccalaureate PharmD and BS-trained pharmacists has been conducted in several studies. Carroll and colleagues found that PharmD graduates were more likely to be working in community and hospital pharmacy staff positions and spending more time in distributive functions compared to postbaccalaureate PharmD graduates. Also, first professional degree graduates reported lower job satisfaction. (4) Ried and McGhan found that pharmacists with a BS degree were more likely to be employed as community pharmacy managers or staff pharmacists compared to pharmacists with a PharmD degree, while those with a PharmD degree were more likely to have hospital staff or management positions. They also found that when performing the same job activities, there was little difference in job satisfaction between pharmacists with a BS and PharmD degree. (5) Cox and Carroll compared practice patterns and job satisfaction for BS and entry-level PharmD graduates and determined that BS graduates were more likely to practice in community pharmacy. No statistically significant difference in job satisfaction between the BS and PharmD graduates was found. (6) Barnett and Matthews compared practice patterns and job satisfaction for BS, first professional degree, and postbaccalaureate PharmD graduates. Postbaccalaureate PharmD graduates reported devoting more time to teaching, research, and management and less time in drug distribution as compared to BS and first professional degree PharmD graduates. No significant differences between degree and job satisfaction were found in the 3 groups. …

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