Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Team-Based Assignment to Integrate Basic Science and Pharmacotherapeutic Principles for Anticancer Agents

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Team-Based Assignment to Integrate Basic Science and Pharmacotherapeutic Principles for Anticancer Agents

Article excerpt

Objective. To implement and evaluate an active-learning, team-based assignment centered on anti-cancer agents for the integration of basic science and pharmacotherapeutic principles.

Methods. Student teams were assigned a specific anticancer agent and were expected to answer a series of questions on the written section of the assignment, followed by a presentation to the class. Each assignment was assessed using a grading rubric that was mapped to the 2013 CAPE educational outcomes. Student perceptions of the assignment were assessed using a short survey.

Results. Student cohort performance on the assignment was in the B range (83%) with a mean of 33.2 out of 40. Using the grading rubric, the 12 student cohorts performed particularly well under professionalism (Domain 4.4) that focuses on personal and professional development from CAPE 2013 with means >4 on a 1-5 scale. Student impressions of the assignment suggested that students believed the assignment had a positive effect on their learning and should be continued.

Conclusion. The assignment provided a focused review of basic science and pharmacotherapeutic principles and enabled integration of concepts relating to the therapeutic application of anticancer agents, and management of anticancer agent mediated adverse effects. The assignment could contribute toward preparing students for the evolving role of the pharmacist in the management of cancer.

Keywords: cancer chemotherapy, team-based learning, active learning

INTRODUCTION

Cancer medications continue to be an area of growth for the pharmaceutical industry, with an exponential increase in the number of approved oral agents and targeted therapies for cancer. (1) As a result of the significant rise in oral targeted therapies, cancer now can be managed as a chronic disease with a greater involvement from a pharmacist not only in clinics and specialty pharmacies but also in community pharmacies. (2) Cancer patients suffer significant morbidities, a decreased quality of life, and a higher risk of mortality. Among the reasons for treatment failures and decreased survival rates are poor management of anticancer drug toxicities, decreased medication adherence and a decreased understanding of the way the anticancer drugs work. (3,4) A pharmacists' intervention could lead to positive therapeutic outcomes, particularly because pharmacists are more readily accessible for patients compared to other health professionals. For example, patient consultation and follow-up by the pharmacist was reported to improve adherence for the oral chemotherapeutic agent, capecitabine. (5)

Based on the evolving role of a pharmacist in improving cancer treatment outcomes, several US-based and international pharmacy programs have asked whether pharmacists are being appropriately educated for their role in the care of cancer patients in a community setting. (6-9) A need to advance pharmacy education to appropriately address the new role of the pharmacist in cancer chemotherapy has been emphasized. Several educational initiatives have been implemented to appropriately prepare future practitioners to fulfill this role. (6,10-11) For example, Plevin and colleagues investigated the role of the pharmacist in providing targeted therapies, and concluded that student pharmacists should be trained in this area to positively affect patient outcomes. (10) Newton and colleagues (6) have suggested that the PharmD curriculum include a combination of didactic courses and practice experiences provided by faculty that include those with a background in oncology practice.

The objective of this study was to design, implement, and evaluate a team-based assignment in an 11-week course on hematologic/oncologic disorders to aid student learning, integration of concepts, and prepare students to meet the requirements of the evolving role of the pharmacist in the management of cancer in the community, specialty, and clinical settings. …

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