Pharmacy Students' Participation in a Research Experience Culminating in Journal Publication

By Nykamp, Diane; Murphy, John E. et al. | American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, April 2010 | Go to article overview

Pharmacy Students' Participation in a Research Experience Culminating in Journal Publication


Nykamp, Diane, Murphy, John E., Marshall, Leisa L., Bell, Allison, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


INTRODUCTION

Several studies have investigated the scholarly experiences and research-related coursework of PharmD students and the factors that motivated them to participate in research and scholarly writing (eg, elective opportunities, independent study, required projects, or working in a laboratory). (1-4) A 1988 study found considerable variation in the extent of research-related courses taken and experiences completed among different types of PharmD degree programs, eg, first-professional degree, post-bachelor of science, and nontraditional PharmD programs. A study by Murphy in 1999 found that most colleges required coursework in research methodology, biostatistics, drug information, and literature evaluation. (2) Students had opportunities to conduct research as an elective in 41% of the responding programs at that time, but only 12.9% of respondents were required to complete an extensive project with data collection, analysis, and write-up. In 2007, Murphy and colleagues reexamined the research-related coursework and research experiences in first-professional degree PharmD programs and found that out of 20 programs (25% of respondents) requiring research experiences, 12 (15%) required an extensive project with data collection and analysis.

Original research helps students develop critical-thinking skills to understand the foundations of evidence-based medicine. Providing these opportunities for students is not easy and may not be considered of sufficient benefit to the individual faculty member or college of pharmacy to justify the time and other costs. Several barriers to requiring student-conducted research have been reported, including a lack of faculty members with appropriate expertise and sufficient time for mentoring. (3) The logistics of managing research projects for a large number of students has been reported by some respondents to be difficult or impossible. (3) Despite these difficulties, pharmacy students work with faculty members on research projects in many colleges and schools of pharmacy across the country. Allowing students to participate in research and teaching has been shown to stimulate interest in an academic pharmacy career. (4) Other variables that motivated students to consider an academic career included: the academic environment, teaching, participating in professional writing and reviews, and course design and/or assessment. (4) While variables such as prior participation in a teaching certificate program and completion of an academic advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) may also affect a decision to pursue an academic career, the impact of residency training on this decision should be explored. (4) The primary goal of this study was to examine factors that influenced PharmD students to collaborate with faculty members, preceptors, or others in scholarly activities that resulted in publication of pharmacy practice-related original research, a case study or report, or a clinical review, and to determine what students liked and disliked about the process. Secondary goals were to determine whether pharmacy students who published these papers were interested in careers in academic pharmacy; whether participation in the scholarly activity impacted their interest; whether they considered themselves high achievers; whether they had pursued or planned to pursue other education; and whether they participated in experiential education or teaching certificate programs.

METHODS

Mercer University's Institutional Review Board approved this study. All manuscripts published in pharmacy practice-related journals from January 2004 through December 2008 were reviewed to identify student authors. Pharmacy journals considered for inclusion were those indexed in Medline and focused on pharmacy practice, that contained original research, reports, clinical reviews, case studies or case reports, and meta analyses. Also, to be included, a journal had to have published at least 10 student-authored papers from January 2004 and December 2008. …

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