Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

National Trends in IPPE Programs at US Schools of Pharmacy from 2008-2013

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

National Trends in IPPE Programs at US Schools of Pharmacy from 2008-2013

Article excerpt


The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) sets standards and provides guidance for professional pharmacy programs, including experiential education. Specifically, ACPE Standard 14 (2007) established the requirement that professional pharmacy programs provide a continuum of introductory pharmacy practice experiences (IPPEs) throughout the curriculum to support achievement of professional competencies. (1) In response to this standard, the American Pharmacists Association urged collaboration on a blueprint that would evaluate, streamline, and consolidate student pharmacists' experiential education. (2) This call to action was an impetus for the authors to conduct a national survey of IPPE programs, which was published in 2008. (3) The study results provided an overview of US IPPE programs. Subsequently, a variety of organizations and stakeholders, including the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), American College of Clinical Pharmacy, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists requested clarifications and provided input on the 2007 ACPE Standards, particularly within the area of IPPEs. (4-7) ACPE responded through adoption of Guidelines Version 2.0 (8) and most recently, a new draft of the Standards and Guidance for 2016. (9)

ACPE Guidelines 2.0 helped clarify many areas of ambiguity for IPPE directors, coordinators, and administrators (hereafter referred to collectively as IPPE administrators). These included issues involving remuneration for experiences, the number of student hours required for IPPE programs, the balance of hours between community and institutional experience, whether simulation of actual experiences should count as IPPEs, and the importance of competencies, outcomes, assessment, and evaluation. Challenges linger and new concerns have arisen, such as questions involving best practice teaching/learning methodologies, IPPE integration in the didactic curriculum, IPPE and advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) program outcomes coordination, the shortage of and resulting competition for experiential sites, preceptor training programs and compliance, site visits, assessment tools, documentation methods, and adequate program resources.

An extensive search for published literature using keywords such as introductory pharmacy practice experience, pharmacy experiential education, experiential learning surveys, quality assurance, and Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education yielded many articles. Some articles detailed emerging areas of interest, (10-14) and only Darbishire and colleagues' 2008 study provided a national overview and trends. (3) A few additional articles identified program challenges and clarifications needed within Standards 2007, including the accelerating expansion of pharmacy schools, difficulty in locating institutional sites, and assessment. (15-17)

The researchers' primary aim was to identify trends over the 5-year period in the primary areas of administrative personnel, program structure, and quality assurance. A secondary objective was to identify current program challenges.


The 2013 survey was a revision of a previously published survey and covered areas including school demographics, administrative roles, program structure, and quality assurance. (3) The authors thoroughly reexamined the 2008 survey questions and participant responses to determine if the questions appropriately asked what the researchers desired to know. Questions were refined or removed and additional areas explored. The authors also reviewed ACPE Guidelines Version 2.0, research articles, and discussion papers published by experiential program administrators in the past 5 years, stakeholder policy statements, such as the 2010 ACPE Policy Statement on Simulations for IPPEs, list-serv questions of the AACP Pediatric Pharmacy Special Interest Group, AACP annual meeting roundtable topics and presentations, and the 2013 Center for the Advancement of Pharmaceutical Education (CAPE) Outcomes. …

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