Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Orientating Nonpharmacist Faculty Members to Pharmacy Practice

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Orientating Nonpharmacist Faculty Members to Pharmacy Practice

Article excerpt


The importance of the interface between basic science and pharmacy practice was acknowledged by the report of the Study Commission on Pharmacy. (1) The need for clinical scientists in pharmacy education--namely faculty members with skills and training in both science and pharmacy practice--was proposed, citing "an inadequate link between the knowledge of pharmacy and the art of pharmacy practice." (1) A subsequent study explored the relationship between pharmaceutical science and clinical pharmacy practice and concluded that pharmacy practice clinicians could benefit from pharmaceutical sciences education and pharmaceutical science faculty members could develop some clinical pharmacy practice skills. (2) Establishing closer proximity between pharmaceutical science and pharmacy practice faculty members, as well as using a team approach, would encourage pharmacy practice relevance in the teaching of pharmaceutical science content. Some of the solutions to accomplish this aim as proposed in the study included development of joint research programs, team teaching units, integrated coursework, and programs to develop clinical scientists, whereby basic scientists can participate in clinical pharmacy activities and clinical faculty obtain training in research methodology.

Regis University School of Pharmacy (RUSOP) conducts the first 3 years of the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program using an integrated teaching model in which faculty members of the departments of pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice work closely together to design and deliver course content. In order to appropriately align all educational objectives of the curriculum with the expectations of the pharmacy profession, nonpharmacist faculty members must become familiar with the role of the pharmacist in several distinct settings. In addition to the historic distributing and counseling functions of pharmacy practice, contemporary pharmacists provide comprehensive clinical services that include medication therapy management and disease prevention. The integrated nature of the curriculum is intended to enhance the application of basic science concepts to patient care, rather than focusing solely on content knowledge. Such an approach should be applied early in the curriculum with an increase in basic science courses that target practice-relevant topics. (3)

Students at the school are individually assigned to a faculty advisor whose responsibilities include providing guidance on professional goals and assessing experiential reflections and a philosophy of care statement. To adequately perform these duties, a faculty member must possess a conceptual knowledge of pharmacy practice in various settings and anticipate future trends in the pharmacy profession.

Development opportunities that encourage communication and collaboration between departments are expected to enhance collegiality in the form of interdisciplinary partnerships. Promoting a unified identity among faculty members from different educational backgrounds has been suggested as a way to vitalize a positive workplace in colleges and schools of pharmacy, presumably by breaking down barriers between the subdisciplines. (4)

The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards and Guidelines for Doctor of Pharmacy education states in Standard 25: Faculty and Staff--Qualitative Factors, "Faculty, regardless of their discipline, must have or develop a conceptual understanding of current and proposed future pharmacy practice in a variety of settings." (5) In this context, the RUSOP examined survey results from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) to determine faculty outlook on the degree of pharmacy practice familiarity among nonpharmacists at the school. The existence of orientation events such as individual meetings with the chair and sponsored attendance at the AACP Annual Meeting in the faculty member's first year may account for the affirmative response of 44% of the school's faculty. …

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