Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Students' Perceptions of Their Preparedness to Provide Pharmaceutical Care

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Students' Perceptions of Their Preparedness to Provide Pharmaceutical Care

Article excerpt


Assessment of student learning outcomes is a high priority for colleges of pharmacy and is mandated by Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Accreditation Standard 15 as essential for quality improvement of the curriculum. (1-5) Assessments must be employed systematically and sequentially throughout the curriculum, be both formative and summative in nature, and be employed in both didactic and experiential curricula. Data must be collected from a variety of sources including comprehensive knowledge examinations, licensure examination pass rates, direct observation of students in laboratory settings, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), and student performance in introductory or advanced pharmacy practice experiences (IPPEs/APPEs). (2)

Aggregate survey data collected from individual students over time can be useful as one form of feedback, even if the data reflect indirect assessments. (6) In some cases, researchers have used annual surveys of graduates to effectively detect trends over time in student perceptions of the curriculum (7) and the adequacy of preparation in a problem-based learning curriculum. (8) Perhaps the most detailed and rigorous analysis of this type was conducted by Ried et al, who developed an instrument called Perceptions of Preparedness to Provide Pharmaceutical Care (PREP). This survey asked students to provide their opinions regarding their ability to perform advanced pharmacy practice competencies at the end of each academic year. (9) The instrument can be used to examine differences between pharmacy classes within the same academic year, or follow a single cohort over the 4-year professional curriculum. Most importantly, it can examine whether increases in students PREP scores occur at the expected times for a given curriculum.

To date, few colleges of pharmacy have used the PREP survey in a systematic manner for evaluating their curricula. Still fewer, if any, have tied those evaluations to the timing of specific curricular changes. North Dakota State University (NDSU) has a unique opportunity to utilize the PREP survey in both of these manners. Starting in 2003, the NDSU College of Pharmacy initiated several curricular changes, including the formation of a concept pharmacy (practice laboratory), and IPPE and APPE. The PREP survey was subsequently administered for several years, allowing for the collection and analysis of both cross-sectional and longitudinal outcomes data.

The first 2 years of NDSU's PharmD program are focused on the pharmaceutical (basic) sciences, including biochemistry, immunology, pathophysiology, pharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics (pharmacology, medicinal chemistry). Pharmacy practice coursework, including pharmacotherapy courses and pharmacy law, is concentrated in the third year of the program. The fourth year comprises the APPEs.

Although NDSU adopted the PharmD curriculum in 1989, the curriculum continues to undergo revision as new concepts and materials are added, and other material is consolidated or dropped from the curriculum. Several major changes to the curriculum were initiated in 20032004. The first major change was the deletion of the pharmaceutical sciences compounding laboratory and the addition of the concept pharmacy for the first 3 years (P1 through P3, respectively) of the curriculum. This change became operational with the 2003 cohort. In the concept pharmacy, students are exposed to dispensing, compounding, sterile products, selected nonprescription products, dispensing software, several automated dispensing machines, telepharmacy, and patient counseling. The concept pharmacy is an onsite pharmacy that is registered and licensed by the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy.

A second major change implemented in 2003 was the pharmaceutical care sequence over the first 3 years of the PharmD curriculum. This 6-course sequence integrated health care delivery, socio-behavioral models, nonprescription drugs, dietary supplements, herbal therapy, communication and counseling skills, ethics, immunization, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and pharmaceutical care. …

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