Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Redesign of a Pediatric Pharmacotherapy Elective Course to Accommodate Budget Reductions

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Redesign of a Pediatric Pharmacotherapy Elective Course to Accommodate Budget Reductions

Article excerpt


With approximately 24% of the population in the United States under the age of 18 years, there is concern regarding the need for health care providers to be well educated in pediatric medicine. (1) This need for pediatric education extends not only to medical education but also to pharmacy education. Because of the continual evolution of the health care system, pharmacists are now in an excellent position to provide pediatric pharmacotherapy.

Pediatric training is lacking in most colleges and schools of pharmacy in the classroom curriculum and in experiential training. In 1994, only 9% of pharmacy schools offered a pediatric elective and dedicated an average of 5 hours of the classroom lecture portion of the curriculum to pediatrics. (2) In 1999, approximately 18% of pharmacy schools offered a pediatric elective and the average number of required classroom lecture hours devoted to pediatrics was 16.7. (3) By 2009,60% of pharmacy schools offered a pediatric course, most often as an elective, and 88.9% taught pediatric pharmacotherapy as part of one of their broader courses. (4) The American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the Pediatric Practice and Research Network of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy provide recommendations for the inclusion of pediatrics in the curriculum. (5,6)

Only 1 pediatric lecture is included in the required curriculum at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. Additional exposure to pediatric topics is provided in the pharmacotherapy course series through active-learning exercises such as pediatric cases on self-care topics. The third-year pharmacotherapy courses also devote a 4-hour case study to a pediatric topic. To provide additional pediatric content to interested students, the college has offered a pediatric elective for over 10 years. The pediatric elective course was traditionally offered to third-year students at all 4 campuses as a 16-week, 2-credit course in the fall semester, ending only 2 months before students began their advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs). Because of the course coordinator's other teaching responsibilities, the course was moved to the spring semester in 2008 as an 8-week course offered immediately before third-year students began their APPEs in early March. In spring 2008, the college's department of pharmacy practice cut all funding for elective courses due to state budget restraints. This course, similar to most electives taught in the department, relied heavily on adjunct faculty lecturers. With the reduction in state funding, a decision was made to offer the course in the fall 2008 to the next group of students, using the same digitally recorded lectures as used in the spring 2008 semester. In addition to traditional lecture content, 3 discussion sessions were held during the course. Distance campuses were able to continue to pay course facilitators, allowing these discussion sessions to be retained in fall 2008. The course coordinator traveled to the main campus from her base at a distance campus to facilitate the course discussion sessions that fall due to lack of funding on that campus.

This study sought to determine whether there was a difference in student performance in presentation grades, average examination grades, and final course grades after redesign of the elective course. Also, differences in course evaluations from students enrolled in the pediatric elective course after the redesign of the course were compared to those before the redesign.


In late 2008, the course coordinator initiated a course redesign in an effort to continue offering the Pediatric Pharmacotherapy elective course after the elimination of the course budget. Additionally, the course coordinator wished to increase the number of hours spent on active-learning exercises using existing course management systems and other educational technology, require students to work in groups at a distance, and incorporate peer evaluation of activities into each active-learning component of the course. …

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