Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem in Third-Year Pharmacy Students

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem in Third-Year Pharmacy Students

Article excerpt


The personal transformation that pharmacy students undergo as they complete their academic career and enter their professional lives is arguably one of the most significant and difficult transitions they will experience. Ideally, upon entering practice, a graduate's self-efficacy and self-esteem, should be high, allowing the new pharmacist to perform with great confidence at a high level of competence. (1) Self-efficacy is "an individual's belief in their ability to perform well in a variety of situations." (2) People with a high level of self-efficacy approach difficult tasks as a challenge to be mastered rather than a threat to be avoided. (3) Self-esteem is "a certain attitude and a perception of one's self." (4) Although self-esteem is an internal perception of one's self, it can be affected by external comparison to peers or role models.

One way for pharmacy students to improve their self-efficacy and self-esteem prior to graduation is to gain experience by working in pharmacy settings. Introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences (IPPEs and APPEs) are where important learning about the profession of pharmacy occurs outside of the classroom. (5) Experiential learning through IPPEs and APPEs, both unpaid and paid, provide an opportunity for students to receive formal appraisals as well as informal feedback from coworkers, preceptors, and others they interact with during their experiences. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) requires (1) 300 IPPE hours, of which 20% or 60 hours can be earned through completing simulated experiences; and (2) 36 weeks at 40 hours a week of APPEs, as the minimum to be eligible to take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination. (6,7) Nevertheless, this amount may still not be sufficient and students without additional pharmacy work experience outside of the required school-provided experiences may be unprepared to work independently as pharmacists at graduation. Such graduates may require several weeks of additional training on the job in order to function in their new role as a pharmacist (J. Gallagher, personal communication, January 25, 2012; C. Perry, personal communication, January 25, 2012)

A literature review did not yield any pharmacy specific articles on self-efficacy and self-esteem in relation to students' early professional experiences. Several articles addressed the benefit of a cooperative education model where students received extended practical experiences on their self-efficacy and self-esteem. (8-11) A few other studies found a relationship between students' ethnicity and level of self-efficacy. (12-14) This study was conducted to determine whether students who had spent extended time in paid and/or unpaid IPPEs, through summer jobs, part-time jobs, or other work opportunities, had greater self-efficacy and self-esteem than those who spent less time in these work settings. The impact of several demographic factors also was examined.


The author developed the Pharmacy Self-efficacy and Self-esteem Study Questionnaire using the General Self-efficacy Scale and Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale. The General Self-efficacy Scale was selected because it measures the most desirable psychometric properties in a wide variety of settings. (2) The Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale is a 10-item scale and has been used to measure general self-esteem in various populations. (15-17)

In addition to the self-efficacy and self-esteem questions, the survey collected the following demographic information: date of birth, ethnicity, school attended, gender, grade point average (GPA), hours of IPPEs completed, and years of paid pharmacy work experience. One of the research objectives was to explore how selected demographic variables related to students' self-efficacy and self-esteem in order to confirm or disprove previously reported findings associating students' gender, ethnicity, GPA, and/or age with their self-efficacy and self-esteem. …

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