DESIGN: We introduced the shared learning experience in clinical pharmacy and pharmacotherapeutic practice experiences involving 87 third-year and 51 fourth-year students. Both student groups undertook the practice experiences together, with third-year students working in smaller groups mentored by fourth-year students.
ASSESSMENT: A majority of the students (> 75%) believed that they learned to work as a team during their practice experiences and that the shared learning approach provided an opportunity to practice their communication skills. Similarly, most respondents (> 70%) agreed that the new approach would help them become effective members of the healthcare team and would facilitate their professional relationships in future practice. Almost two-thirds of the students believed that the shared learning enhanced their ability to understand clinical problems. However, about 31% of the pharmacy students felt that they could have learned clinical problem-solving skills equally well working only with peers from their own student group.
CONCLUSIONS: The pharmacy students in the current study generally believed that the shared-learning approach enhanced their ability to understand clinical problems and improved their communication and teamwork skills. Both groups of students were positive that they had acquired some skills through the shared-learning approach.
METHODS: A validated self-administered questionnaire was used in this cross-sectional study to collect data from final-year BPharm students enrolled at 3 government-funded universities and 1 private university in Malaysia. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analysis.
RESULTS: Three hundred fourteen students responded (213 from public universities and 101 from the private university). Approximately 32% of public university students and 37% of private university students ranked their own interest in pharmacy as the reason for undertaking pharmacy degree studies; 40.4% of public and 19.8% of private university respondents stated that they would enter a nonpharmacy-related career upon graduation if given the choice. Public university students ranked hospital pharmacy as their choice of first career setting (4.39, p = 0.001), while private students ranked community pharmacy first (4.1, p = 0.002). On a scale of 1 to 5, salary received the highest mean score (3.9 and 4.0, p = 0.854) as the extrinsic factor most influencing their career choice.
CONCLUSIONS: Final-year students at Malaysian public universities were most interested in hospital pharmacy practice as their first career step upon graduation, while private university students were most interested in community pharmacy. The top 3 extrinsic factors rated as significant in selecting a career destination were salary, benefits, and geographical location.
DESIGN: A 13-station OSCE was designed and implemented in the 2007-2008 academic year as part of the assessment methods for a clinical pharmacy course. The broad competencies tested in the OSCE included: patient counseling and communication, clinical pharmacokinetics (CPK), identification and resolution of drug-related problems (DRPs), and literature evaluation/drug information provision.
ASSESSMENT: Immediately after all students completed the OSCE, a questionnaire containing items on the clarity of written instructions, difficulty of the tasks, perceived degree of learning gained and needed, and the suitability of the references or literature resources provided was administered. More than 70% of the students felt that a higher degree of learning was needed to accomplish the tasks at the 2 DRP stations and 2 CPK stations and the majority felt the written instructions provided at the phenytoin CPK station were difficult to understand. Although about 60% of the students rated OSCE as a difficult form of assessment, 75% said it should be used more and 81% perceived they learned a lot from it.
CONCLUSION: Although most students felt that the OSCE accurately assessed their skills, a majority felt the tasks required in some stations required a higher degree of learning than they had achieved. This may indicate deficiencies in the students' learning abilities, the course curriculum, or the OSCE station design. Future efforts should include providing clearer instructions at OSCE stations and balancing the complexity of the competencies assessed.
DESIGN: A required 2-credit-hour course was designed to provide an overview of public health pharmacy roles and the behavioral aspects of human healthcare issues. Graded activities included nursing home visits, in-class quizzes, mini-projects, and poster sessions, and a comprehensive final examination.
ASSESSMENT: The majority of the students performed well on the class activities and 93 (71.5%) of the 130 students enrolled received a grade of B or higher. A Web-based survey was administered at the end of the semester and 90% of students indicated that they had benefited from the course and were glad that it was offered. The majority of students agreed that the course made an impact in preparing them for their future role as pharmacists and expanded their understanding of the public health roles of a pharmacist.
CONCLUSIONS: A public health pharmacy course was successfully designed and implemented in the BPharm curriculum. This study highlighted the feasibilities of introducing courses that are of global relevance into a Malaysian pharmacy curriculum. The findings from the students' evaluation suggest the needs to incorporate a similar course in all pharmacy schools in the country and will be used as a guide to improve the contents and methods of delivery of the course at our school.
METHOD: A cross-sectional study among pharmacy students. Data were analyzed with Chi-square to find difference at p value < 0.05.
RESULTS: The majority of students (83.07%) responded showing a difference in gender and race. Students showed low willingness (9.2%) to assist patients and low confidence (36.1%) in their education about HIV/AIDS patients. Students recommended HIV testing for health care professionals (69.4%) and patients (75.9%) before surgical procedures. Students knew little about Post Exposure Prophylaxis (18.5%) or about the time for HIV to develop into AIDS (57.4%). About 40% of students were unaware of the inability of antivirals to treat HIV/AIDS. Students had low awareness for opportunistic infections (18.5%), and low agreement on competency to treat and counsel HIV patients (12.9%).
CONCLUSION: The study highlighted students' misconceptions, negative attitudes, and risk perceptions towards HIV/AIDS.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted via a validated 49-item questionnaire, administered immediately after all students completed the examination. The questionnaire comprised of questions to evaluate the content and structure of the examination, perception of OSCE validity and reliability, and rating of OSCE in relation to other assessment methods. Open-ended follow-up questions were included to generate qualitative data.
RESULTS: Over 80% of the students found the OSCE to be helpful in highlighting areas of weaknesses in their clinical competencies. Seventy-eight percent agreed that it was comprehensive and 66% believed it was fair. About 46% felt that the 15 minutes allocated per station was inadequate. Most importantly, about half of the students raised concerns that personality, ethnicity, and/or gender, as well as interpatient and inter-assessor variability were potential sources of bias that could affect their scores. However, an overwhelming proportion of the students (90%) agreed that the OSCE provided a useful and practical learning experience.
CONCLUSIONS: Students' perceptions and acceptance of the new method of assessment were positive. The survey further highlighted for future refinement the strengths and weaknesses associated with the development and implementation of an OSCE in the International Islamic University Malaysia's pharmacy curriculum.