Revise, Review and Reflect: Readying Pharmacy Graduates for Practice
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Objective Being conversant in core drug knowledge is essential for pharmacy graduates. Pharmacists provide up to date drug information and advice in various healthcare settings; hence practical drug knowledge is an essential part of pharmacy education. Medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutics are often discrete building blocks in pharmacy curricula, leaving the possibility that students may pass individual subjects but not retain knowledge, or be able to apply it in a practical situation to individual patients or in particular contexts. Anecdotal reports from the pharmacy profession suggest that pharmacy graduates entering the workplace may possess inadequate core drug knowledge. The aim of this project was to implement and assess a number of student-focused educational initiatives, including speed dating as an innovative tool, to facilitate the revision of practical drug knowledge, improve self-reflection and confidence in counselling, and to prepare graduates for internship and pharmacy practice. Method During the final semester of the Master of Pharmacy program in 2012, students were exposed to a variety of practical drug review strategies. A list of 100 significant drugs was compiled and distributed to students, which included the 50 most commonly dispensed drugs in Australia and 50 drugs that teacher-practitioners considered important. Intermittent formative quizzes on the core drugs were delivered at the start of selected lectures, with immediate feedback provided. Speed dating workshops were developed, in which students rotated between timed stations of student peers and pharmacy academics to demonstrate drug knowledge, including drug class, indication, dosing, counselling and monitoring, on randomly selected core drugs. Finally, a module of review lectures, on cardiovascular drugs, anti-infective therapies, drugs significant in the hospital practice setting and drug counselling, were created and delivered. The initiatives were later evaluated by anonymous questionnaire distributed during a timetabled class. Students were asked to rate the degree to which they perceived each activity improved their core drug knowledge, self-reflection, confidence in medication counselling, and overall preparedness for pharmacy practice using a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree). Students were also invited to comment on the review activities, including the speed dating workshop. University Ethics Approval was granted (PHM/04/12/HREC). Results Of 98 students enrolled 78% (n=76) received and completed the questionnaire. All students were exposed to the core drug list, the majority of students were exposed to the quizzes and review lectures, and 88% (n=67) of respondents attended the speed dating workshop. Overall, students agreed that the activities had positive impacts on improving drug knowledge, confidence in counselling, preparedness for practice and self-reflection. The most notable of these was the ability to self-reflect on areas requiring improvement: core drug list (mean 4.53), quizzes (mean 4.51), speed dating (mean 4.43) and review lectures (mean 4.15). End of semester exam results for drug knowledge questions was high (mean 91%) compared to total exam results (mean 72%). Conclusion The drug review activities engaged students and improved their drug knowledge. Students agreed they improved their counselling and preparedness, and they valued the ability to self-reflect on their knowledge gaps. Keywords: drug knowledge, pharmacy curriculum, reflection
6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI2013) Proceedings
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Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice