Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Impact of the Birkman Method Assessment on Pharmacy Student Self-Confidence, Self-Perceptions, and Self-Awareness

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Impact of the Birkman Method Assessment on Pharmacy Student Self-Confidence, Self-Perceptions, and Self-Awareness

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The emphasis on self-awareness in the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards is increasing. Self-awareness is now listed as a key element of Standard 4: Personal and Professional Development in the 2016 Accreditation Standards. According to Standard 4, the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) graduate must be, able to examine and reflect on personal knowledge, skills, abilities, beliefs, biases, motivation, and emotions that could enhance or limit personal and professional growth". (1) Self-awareness has been identified as an important component of emotional intelligence, (2-5) effective interprofessional patient care, (2,5) professionalism, (5) self-efficacy, (5) professional development, (6) and cultural competence (6) across a variety of healthcare education disciplines including pharmacy, medical, nursing, and dentistry education. A variety of strategies and interventions to promote student self-awareness have been described in the healthcare education literature, including, mindfulness and metacognition, (6) discussion groups, (7) self-assessment tools, role-play, self-reflection, mentorship, and portfolio development. (9) However, the optimal approach to increasing self-awareness or measuring changes in self-awareness in pharmacy education is yet to be determined.

A variety of definitions of self-awareness have been proposed in the educational, medical, and business literature. Common components of the definitions in the educational literature include knowledge of and attentiveness to personal behaviors, attitudes, needs, and emotions. (10-12) However, structured or objective measurements of changes in self-awareness have not been routinely used in this arena. In the medical literature, patient self-awareness is defined and measured more objectively as the extent of concordance between patients' self-reported awareness and clinical ratings. (13) Similarly, the business literature also approaches defining and measuring self-awareness more objectively. In this context, self-awareness is defined as the agreement between an individual's self-perceptions and external perceptions about that individual. (14) According to McCarthy and colleagues, "Self-awareness is a broader concept that focuses on the image that an individual has of him/herself and whether or not that image is accurate.. ." (15) Individuals with accurate self-perceptions generally have better outcomes and tend to be more successful from organizational and leadership performance perspective. (14)

McCarthy and colleagues also posit that the term "self-perception accuracy" is synonymous with the term "self-awareness" in the literature describing corporate career development and performance appraisal. (15) Thus, self-awareness increases measurably when discrepancies between self-perceptions and external perceptions resolve. (14) With this in mind, our study uses the Birkman Method assessment as an external benchmark against which students' self-perceptions are compared to assess for accuracy. Within this framework, changes in self-perception accuracy serve as indicators of changes in self-awareness. Using this more objective approach to self-awareness described in the medical and business literature enables evaluation of the impact of Birkman Method testing and training on pharmacy students' self-perception accuracy, and therefore, self-awareness.

The Birkman Method is a validated self-assessment tool that facilitates self-awareness, social awareness, and assists with career planning. (16,17) It is a 298-question self-assessment tool describing an individual's usual communication style and behaviors, communication and behavior styles under stress, needs from others, and interests. The instrument evaluates individuals' usual style and needs compared with others across 27 scales, including emotive orientation, social orientation, process orientation, and others. A complete listing of the 27 scales can be found in Appendix 1. …

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