Pharmaceutical education: gifts from industry and lifelong learning

pharmacyeduc.jpg   From the August 15, 2007 issue of the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education [Open Access]:

Hanson AL, Bruskiewitz RH, DeMuth JE. Pharmacists’ perceptions of facilitators and barriers to lifelong learning. Am J Pharm Educ 2007; 71(4):67.

OBJECTIVES: To reevaluate facilitators of and barriers to pharmacists’ participation in lifelong learning previously examined in a 1990 study.
METHODS: A survey instrument was mailed to 274 pharmacists who volunteered to participate based on a prior random sample survey. Data based on perceptions of facilitators and barriers to lifelong learning, as well as self-perception as a lifelong learner, were analyzed and compared to a similar 1990 survey.
RESULTS: The response rate for the survey was 88%. The top 3 facilitators and barriers to lifelong learning from the 2003 and the 1990 samples were:
(1) personal desire to learn;
(2) requirement to maintain professional licensure; and
(3) enjoyment/relaxation provided by learning as change of pace from the “routine.”
The top 3 barriers were:
(1) job constraints;
(2) scheduling (location, distance, time) of group learning activities; and
(3) family constraints (eg, spouse, children, personal). Respondents’ broad self-perception as lifelong learners continued to be highly positive overall, but remained less positive relative to more specific lifelong learning skills such as the ability to identify learning objectives as well as to evaluate learning outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: Little has changed in the last decade relative to how pharmacists view themselves as lifelong learners, as well as what they perceive as facilitators and barriers to lifelong learning. To address factors identified as facilitators and barriers, continuing education (CE) providers should focus on pharmacists’ time constraints, whether due to employment, family responsibilities, or time invested in the educational activity itself, and pharmacists’ internal motivations to learn (personal desire, enjoyment), as well as external forces such as mandatory CE for relicensure.  PubMed  Record

Piascik P, Bernard D, Madhavan S, Sorensen TD, Stoner SC, TenHoeve T. Gifts and corporate influence in doctor of pharmacy education. Am J Pharm Educ 2007; 71(4):68.

OBJECTIVES: To explore the nature of corporate gifts directed at PharmD programs and pharmacy student activities and the perceptions of administrators about the potential influences of such gifts.
METHODS: A verbally administered survey of administrative officials at 11 US colleges and schools of pharmacy was conducted and responses were analyzed.
RESULTS: All respondents indicated accepting corporate gifts or sponsorships for student-related activities in the form of money, grants, scholarships, meals, trinkets, and support for special events, and cited many advantages to corporate partner relationships. Approximately half of the respondents believed that real or potential problems could occur from accepting corporate gifts. Forty-four percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that corporate contributions could influence college or school administration. Sixty-one percent agreed or strongly agreed that donations were likely to influence students.
CONCLUSIONS: Corporate gifts do influence college and school of administration and students. Policies should be in place to manage this influence appropriately.  PubMed Record 

And this just in:

Ellis RA, Goodyear P, Brillant M, Prosser M. Student experiences of problem-based learning in pharmacy: conceptions of learning, approaches to learning and the integration of face-to-face and on-line activitiesAdv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract 2007 Jul 12; [Epub ahead of print; subscription required]

This study investigates fourth-year pharmacy students’ experiences of problem-based learning (PBL). It adopts a phenomenographic approach to the evaluation of problem-based learning, to shed light on the ways in which different groups of students conceive of, and approach, PBL. The study focuses on the way students approach solving problem scenarios in class, and using professional pharmacy databases on-line. Qualitative variations in student approaches to solving problem scenarios in both learning situations are identified. These turn out to be associated with qualitatively different conceptions of PBL and also with levels of achievement. Conceptions and approaches that emphasis learning for understanding correlate with attaining higher course marks. The outcomes of the study reinforce arguments that we need to know more about how students interpret the requirements of study in a PBL context if we are to unravel the complex web of influences upon study activities, academic achievement and longer-term professional competence. Such knowledge is crucial to any theoretical model of PBL and has direct practical implications for the design of learning tasks and the induction of students into a PBL environment.

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