Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Students' Perception of Self-Efficacy Following Medicinal Chemistry Skills Laboratory Exercises

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Students' Perception of Self-Efficacy Following Medicinal Chemistry Skills Laboratory Exercises

Article excerpt


With the introduction of Standards 2007 by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), (1) our program, and other pharmacy programs in general, had to modify curricula to require that skills laboratory courses meet accreditation-mandated expectations and program-specific competencies for students. Many faculty members took advantage of the introductions of skills laboratories to address key educational outcomes as part of their courses (2-6) and to improve required skills.

At Creighton University, the pharmacy skills laboratory (PSL) course sequence was implemented in 2009. Among its goals was the opportunity for faculty members to offer exercises to reinforce, integrate, and apply the content covered in simultaneously offered didactic courses and help students develop essential skills as they progressed towards advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs). For pharmaceutical sciences faculty members, the PSL offered a vehicle to demonstrate the importance of their discipline to the comprehensive curriculum and to pharmacy practice. (2,6)

We previously implemented several classroom-based strategies including treatment algorithms, (7) electronic integration of prerequisite content, (8) learning games, (9) and the structurally-based therapeutic evaluation (SBTE) concept (10) to help students appreciate the relevance of medicinal chemistry to pharmacy practice and to instill self-directed learning by students. (11,12) The PSL was intended to provide a unique venue with sufficient time to reinforce what was being taught in the classroom, to challenge students to integrate and apply what they had learned, and to increase their confidence in their ability to meet course objectives and perform (self-efficacy). Several authors from a variety of health sciences disciplines have studied the positive correlation between self-efficacy and academic performance, (13) performance in the clinical arena, (14) and readiness for self-directed learning. (15) In this manuscript, we document student perception of self-efficacy following the medicinal chemistry PSL and the lessons learned.


The Chemical Basis of Drug Action course sequence is a 2-semester sequence (2.5-credit hours each) taught in the second year of the professional curriculum. The class meets two or three times per week. The study was incorporated into the fall semester offering of the course. Enrolled students have completed required courses in biochemistry, communication skills, physiology, microbiology and immunology, pathology and pharmaceutics, and are concurrently enrolled in pharmacology, patient assessment, and basic pharmacokinetics courses. Meetings were held with pharmacology faculty members over three years at the beginning of each year to synchronize the content taught by the two courses.

The laboratory has a main area of approximately 5400 square feet with six examinations rooms (80 square feet each) equipped with patient assessment and mobile recording equipment. There are 72 student work stations, each with a flat screen computer with access to the Internet, Health Sciences Library resources, and two pharmacy management programs (QS1and Etreby). In addition, there are 34 phones (one per two stations) for telecommunication simulations. There are four horizontal flow hoods, one vertical flow hood, two compounding aseptic isolators and six simulated hoods. The PSL is a self-care simulated pharmacy front area with nonprescription products and a variety of durable medical supplies (eg, canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs).

The process of developing the PSL exercises started by asking what the primary goal was and what outcomes we were trying to achieve. The answer to the first question underpins our educational philosophy related to medicinal chemistry, which is the appreciation of the applicability to patient care of the knowledge gained in class. To answer the second question, we referred to the course syllabus, which identified three key educational outcomes and their respective competencies (Table 1). …

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