Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Assessment of Pharmacy Student Professionalism across a Curriculum

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Assessment of Pharmacy Student Professionalism across a Curriculum

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The American Pharmacists Association Academy of Students of Pharmacy(APhA-ASP) and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Council of Deans (AACP-COD) joint task force on professionalism published a white paper in 2000 to encourage colleges and schools of pharmacy to assess the professionalization process within their curricula. (1) This call to action by the APhA-ASP/AACP-COD spurred several organizations to develop white papers on student professionalism, describing development of the characteristics of a professional among students as a primary goal of colleges and schools of pharmacy. (2-5) Schools and colleges that responded to a survey instrument about efforts to enhance student professionalism reported having professionalization activities such as a white coat ceremony, distribution of the oath of the pharmacist, and participating in professional student organizations. (6) Fewer than half of the responding colleges and schools, however, had required mentoring programs or service-learning activities.

At the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy (SIUE-SOP) several professionalization activities are included as both curricular and co-curricular components of the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) experience. Within the curriculum, students completed a mandatory 20-contact-hour service-learning experience as part of their first professional (P1) year and were required to complete 1760 contact hours of introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences (IPPE and APPE). Students were introduced to the concept of professionalism during the new student orientation and participated in a white coat ceremony during which they recited a pledge of professionalism approved by the APhA-ASP and the AACP-COD. (7) Involvement in professional student organizations and attendance at local, state, and national meetings is encouraged through financial support for travel. The SIUE-SOP also has a structured faculty-student mentoring program. In light of the significant emphasis on student professionalism at the SIUE-SOP, tracking student development in this area is an important assessment goal. The first pharmacy class at SIUE-SOP matriculated during the fall of 2005. As part of the SIUE-SOP master assessment plan, a previously validated professionalism instrument developed by Chisholm was administered during the fall semester of the P1 year and the spring semester of the P2 and P3 years in the PharmD program. (8) The Chisholm questionnaire has been used previously to compare professionalism scores between P1 students and recent PharmD graduates. (8) However, a cohort of students at different points in the curriculum has not been evaluated previously. Thus the purpose of this report was to evaluate changes in professionalism scores across the curriculum and among students in different class cohorts.

METHODS

This study was approved by the SIUE Institutional Review Board as an exempt study. The intent was to administer the professionalism instrument at 3 critical points in the PharmD program. The first administration occurred during the fall of the P1 year prior to students entering their first IPPE. The second administration occurred during the spring of the P2 year after students completed their fourth IPPE. The third administration occurred during the P4 year after students had completed all APPEs. The professionalism instrument developed by Chisholm 8 consists of 18 items that are scored on a Likert-type scale with responses ranging from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. Higher scores indicate a higher level of professionalism. In addition to an overall professionalism score, scores can be obtained for the following subscales: excellence (5 items), respect for others (4 items), altruism (3 items), duty (2 items), accountability (2 items), and honor/integrity (2 items). Scores for overall professionalism and the subscales are calculated by summing the scores for items within the respective scales. …

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