Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Comparative Analysis of Perceptions of Pharmacy Students' Stress and Stressors across Two Multicampus Universities

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Comparative Analysis of Perceptions of Pharmacy Students' Stress and Stressors across Two Multicampus Universities

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Approximately 24% of colleges and schools of pharmacy have multicampus professional programs as of June 2015. (1) A multicampus program is a campus using technology to facilitate distance education between two or more campuses. Multicampus pharmacy schools expand clinical access and resources, promote interprofessional education, increase recruitment and retention of student pharmacists from different areas of the state (especially rural areas), and accommodate future workforce needs. (1) Teaching and learning is generally facilitated through synchronous and asynchronous technology. The establishment of multicampuses and the use of distance education technology have been instrumental for existing campuses to implement new programs, restructure students' learning environments, and foster student-student, student-faculty, and faculty-faculty interactions. (1) The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards require that the multicampus curriculum, levels of faculty and student support, communications, interprofessional teamwork, outcomes, and other factors be the same for each site. (2) Furthermore, ACPE guidelines encourage assessment of perceived stress in students (as well as in faculty members and staff) and provision of mechanisms to address underlying causes that negatively impact learning experiences and students' well-being. (2)

Several studies assess sources of stress and stressors of pharmacy and other health professional students. (3-6) Beck et al compared common sources of stress and stressors in two nursing student programs, to those of pharmacy, nursing, medicine and, social work students. (3) Five hundred fifty-two students in the second, third, or fourth year of their respective programs were given a written questionnaire that inquired about sources of stress using the Beck-Srivastava Stress Inventory, which asks students to describe stressful events related to the student role which occurred over the last month. The sources of stress were similar across each of the programs. The most common self-reported sources of stress and stressors by pharmacy students, in rank order, were heavy workload, long study hours, examinations/grades, lack of free time, difficulty of class work, perceptions of other professionals toward the pharmacy profession, financial responsibilities, negative personal habits, administrative responsiveness to students' needs and peer competition. (3) Furthermore, Marshall et al's study of 135 third-year pharmacy students at one university found students self-reported additional stressors of family relationships, Monday morning examinations, outside assignments, and financial concerns. (4)

Student stress levels are also related to health-related quality of life and academic performance. (4-6) Gupchup et al's study, in which a self-administered questionnaire was completed by 166 pharmacy students enrolled in the first three years of a pharmacy program, found a significant negative correlation between student-life stress and the mental component of the health-related quality of life measure. (5) Because of the perceived heavy workloads, students tend to focus on short-term rather than long-term learning, resulting in a state of panic, anxiety, and the inability to recall information during test/examinations. (4) Stress research affirms there is strong evidence indicating that higher levels of student stress impact academic performance negatively. (6) Votta and Benau's nationwide study of student members of the American Pharmacists Association found lower grade point averages (GPAs) were significantly associated with higher stress levels as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale. (6) LeBlanc's literature review proffered the theory that there is a strong link between stress and memory. (7) According to the review, because memory is the ability to store, retain, and retrieve information, it is critical for students in health professions, and others who are in medical professions training, to avoid situations that impair memory. …

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