UMN pharmacy researchers study employer perceptions of success

Success motivation concept
Quote by Marva Collins, American educator and civil rights activist

Why study “variables in new practitioners’ success”?  

The concept of success and the variables contributing to success as a new practitioner are insufficiently studied in pharmacy education.  Domain 4 of the CAPE Outcomes lacks the specificity needed to guide curricular decisions about the inclusion or exclusion of specific content and skill sets.  As a result, pharmacy educators are faced with many topics and activities that may have a positive effect and could be covered in professional development sections of curricula.  More information is needed to prioritize and focus on building those competencies desired by employers. In short, information on new practitioner success will strengthen the evidence base for schools and colleges of pharmacy in structuring and further advancing professional development components of the curriculum

The goals of the project are two-fold:

  • To determine the key variables in a new practitioner’s success from the perspective of community/outpatient/ambulatory pharmacy and inpatient hospital pharmacy employers.
  • To determine the utility of a modified Delphi process in collecting quality information from external constituents to support curriculum advancement.  

What are the study methods?

The project will begin in August.  Six of the seven US-based pharmacy schools in NABP/AACP District V will be joining in the work.  A point person from each partnering school will participate in WebEx video-conferences to provide input on the project and circulate information back within their school.   

We will use a modified Delphi process in which a panel of “expert” pharmacy employers are selected based on specific criteria.  Each school will recommend three community/outpatient/ambulatory pharmacy and three inpatient hospital pharmacy employers to participate in the process (excluding any residency directors).  Expert panelists will identify and come to consensus on a number of key variables in a new practitioner’s success.  Input from the panel will be gathered and analyzed through the use of 2-3 rounds of inquiry until panel consensus is reached.  For all rounds, the web-based survey program Qualtrics will be used to collect panelist responses and comments.

What are the implications of this work?

Supporting curricular development: Identifying variables in new practitioner success will help the District V pharmacy programs better guide curricula locally, as well as assisting our pharmacy educator colleagues nationally.  Pharmacy educators will be particularly interested in the findings, given the lack of published information on employer perspectives of the competencies needed by new graduates.  Our Canadian colleagues may wish to conduct similar studies.  To facilitate this possibility, we will host a webinar on our findings for contacts at the University of Manitoba and the University of Saskatchewan.  

Studying new practitioner success: By studying excellence, we will better understand the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are a high priority in shifting lower performers towards higher performance.  Furthermore, studying success enables better education of future generations with improved skill sets that will benefit society and the common good by enhancing patient care and safety.  Boards of Pharmacy may also be interested in the findings as they will further illuminate competency and performance expectations of pharmacists.  Study results will be presented at the 2018 District V AACP/NABP meeting.

Examining methods for gaining input from external constituents: Input from employers is especially important to advance and improve newer elements of curricula, such as professional development programs.  Strategies and methods are needed for obtaining timely input to help refine curricula.  Panelists’ perspectives on participation will be gathered, helping schools to determine the feasibility and utility of this method for obtaining external input to help refine curricula.  

Employers Perceptions of Key Variables in New Practitioners’ Success when Entering the Pharmacy Workforce.

Research Team:   Kristin Janke and Bob Bechtol from the University of Minnesota and Michael Nelson and Eliza Dy-Boarman from Drake University. 

Support From:  The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) 2017 District Five Individual Study Grant.  

District Five Participating Schools:  Drake University, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Creighton University, University of Nebraska, North Dakota State University.

Stay tuned for future posts on the project’s findings in the coming months!