Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Quality Improvement Course Review of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Quality Improvement Course Review of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences

Article excerpt


Curriculum management (development and assessment) is often difficult for colleges and schools of pharmacy. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) mandates that all colleges and schools of pharmacy have in place a curriculum committee that is responsible for the "development, organization, delivery and improvement" of the college or school's professional curriculum. 1 With accreditation standards focusing on objectives and outcomes, this process can be challenging. The ACPE accreditation standards also state that the curriculum committee must conduct "orderly and systematic reviews of curricular structure, content, process, and outcomes, based on assessment data" (Guideline 10.2) as well as use "a system of evaluation of curricular effectiveness" (Guideline 15.2). (1) The experiential curriculum accounts for approximately 30% of a professional degree program in pharmacy. Because of this and because of the many variables (multiple advanced pharmacy practice experience [APPE] courses, faculty members, affiliate preceptors, and training sites) involved in experiential education, continuous quality assessment and improvement is of the utmost importance for all colleges and schools of pharmacy.

A Medline search using the terms course review, advanced pharmacy practice experience, pharmacy education, medical curriculum, curriculum development, curriculum evaluation, and curriculum reform was conducted for English-language articles published from 1966 through November 2010. Abstracts presented at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) annual meetings from 2005 through 2010 were searched for relevant data. Articles pertinent to course reviews and curriculum changes were identified and reviewed.

The course review process used at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in 2000 consisted of 4 components: (1) course documentation, (2) self-assessment by the course director, (3) peer review, and (4) system assessment. Outcomes of their review process included curriculum and faculty development as well as increased peer interactions. (2) Others have described curricular change in medical education involving leadership, governance, communication, faculty development, integration of courses, assessment of instructional methods, student assessment, and overall program evaluation. (3)

Barham described a well-designed course review process as one that "addresses curricular issues and leads to identification of possible solutions" resulting in "achievement of the desired educational outcomes." (4) Course reviews should aim for course improvement through identification of problems and include multiple assessments (ie, self, peer, and student) with participation from both internal and external reviewers. Maintaining a cooperative and collaborative review process is important. Activities within the course review process may ultimately result in faculty development as well. (4)

A process of curricular review and mapping within the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy has been described, but no information was found in the literature regarding a systematic course review process specifically for APPEs. (5) Therefore, the purpose of this project was to determine quality improvements for APPEs through a systematic course review process at Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy (AUHSOP). This course review is part of the overall continuous quality improvement program of the curriculum. Findings from the course review are presented, including strengths of and areas for improvement in the APPE sequence, as well as reflections on the course review process.


The school's mission is to prepare graduates who are highly competent and can deliver primary pharmacy care both independently and collaboratively with other healthcare providers. The purpose of APPEs is to give student pharmacists opportunities to develop and demonstrate achievement of the school's ability-based outcomes. …

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