Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Incorporating an Entrepreneurial Certificate into the Pharmacy Curriculum

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Incorporating an Entrepreneurial Certificate into the Pharmacy Curriculum

Article excerpt


The changing landscape of health care provides significant opportunities for pharmacists to engage in innovative practice models. (1) Quality- and value-based models are replacing traditional fee-for-service programs, placing more emphasis on patient outcomes. Pharmacists have demonstrated the ability to positively impact patient outcomes and add to the quality of care provided when part of the health care team. (2,3) In addition, reimbursements for medications from third-party payers are lower, while the actual costs of medications continue to rise. Pharmacists need to find new revenue streams to keep pace with the changing health care environment. Developing and implementing new services in the pharmacy setting require entrepreneurial skills and innovative thinking.

Traditionally, entrepreneurship was associated with those who were seeking or have already obtained pharmacy ownership. However, the spirit of entrepreneurship encompasses critical thinking, seeking change and continuous improvement, which aligns with the development of a variety of services in many pharmacy and health care settings. Current accreditation standards and professional competency outcomes as delineated by the Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education (CAPE) 2013 require that all student pharmacists have sufficient exposure and understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation as a way to better accomplish professional goals. (5) These skills and knowledge are vital in today's evolving health care environment. Brazeau suggested that fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in student pharmacists is vital to advancing health care. (6)

Today, many pharmacy schools offer joint degree programs that allow interested student pharmacists to obtain their master of business administration (MBA) while completing requirements for the doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD). However, depending on the professional goals of the student pharmacist, an MBA may not be necessary. Furthermore, many schools are unable to offer dual-degree programs because of financial, regulatory, or other reasons. Instead, these schools may implement other trainings or programs with a focus in entrepreneurship to provide student pharmacists opportunities to further develop these skills.

Fhe Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy offers its student pharmacists the opportunity to participate in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IE) certificate program. The IE program was implemented with the goals of enhancing the entrepreneurial skills and increasing knowledge of the business processes related to opening one's own pharmacy or pharmacy-related business. This program involves many required components, including attendance at IE workshops and programs, written reflections, completion of an entrepreneurial-focused advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE), and completion of an entrepreneurial elective. These requirements span the didactic and APPE curricula, and are intended to foster innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. Student pharmacists who complete all requirements obtain their IE certificate at the hooding and commencement ceremony.

The entrepreneurial elective course is offered in the spring of the second year of the didactic curriculum (ie, fourth semester). Although enrolled students may be part of the larger IE program, the elective course is open to all students in the second professional year. This 2-credit-hour didactic elective incorporates a certificate program provided by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which is devoted to entrepreneurship and education. Kauffman FastTrac (Kansas City, MO) provides a variety of training programs for would-be and established entrepreneurs. The Kauffman FastTrac program was selected based on the prominence of FastTrac programs in business journals and magazines, the small-business education provided, and firsthand experience of several faculty colleagues with other Kauffman FastTrac programs. …

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