Background: Professional engagement has importance to the professional of pharmacy, and in particular the growth of student pharmacists. Measurement of this construct would allow investigation of factors that may increase or decrease professional engagement.
Objectives: To describe the development of the Student Pharmacist Inventory of Professional Engagement (S-PIPE), assess the factor structure and convergent validity, and test for differences in professional engagement based upon demographic and background factors.
Methods: Potential items for the S-PIPE were developed iteratively through inductive and deductive item-writing, 2 pilot administrations, expert review of items, and assessment of the content validity index, and cognitive interviews with students. The S-PIPE was administered to a cohort of 164 first year student pharmacists at University of Minnesota, along with items querying types and level of involvement in professional experiences and activities. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted using principal axis factoring extraction and Promax rotation. The number of factors to retain was based upon eigenvalues, examination of the scree plot, and a parallel analysis. Factors of the S-PIPE were compared to self-rated level of involvement and other demographic factors.
Results: Three factors were retained accounting for 70.7% of the variance, and named Belonging (α = 0.942, 9 items), Connectedness (α = 0.864, 3 items), and Meaningful Experience (α = 0.760, 4 items). All 3 factors were significantly correlated to self-rated involvement (r = 0.291 to 0.370). Level of professional engagement differed in this study by gender, and pharmacy work experience.
Conclusions: This study lays the foundation for quantitative research in professional engagement among student pharmacists. Future work is needed to further validate and extend these findings.
Keywords: Exploratory factor analysis; Instrument development; Professional engagement; Student pharmacists.
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