Cultivating a Culture of Reflection Among Pharmacy Students Through Storytelling

Am J Pharm Educ. 2020 Apr;84(4):7633. doi: 10.5688/ajpe7633.


Objective. To hold a storytelling event and assess its effect on Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students' perspectives on and attitudes toward reflection. Methods. Story Slam, a four-hour storytelling competition, was incorporated into the spring semester of the first professional year of a PharmD program. The event featured short first-person stories told by faculty members as well as students. Students were invited to participate in a pre- and post-intervention survey and focus group. An inductive qualitative analysis of the resulting data was conducted using textual and audio artifacts. Results. All 136 first professional year (P1) students participated in the 2019 Story Slam. Eleven students submitted qualitative pre- and post-intervention survey instruments and participated in a semi-structured recorded focus group. Thematic analysis revealed nine themes. Students' perspectives regarding the importance of self-reflection changed after participating in Story Slam, with students expressing a greater willingness to engage in self-reflection in the context of professional practice following the event. Students believed Story Slam created an environment conducive to reflection and engagement, resulting in strengthened relationships with peers and faculty members. Students expressed feeling a wide range of emotions as they shared their story and listened to the stories of others. Conclusion. Story Slam is an effective strategy for introducing P1 students to reflection, while also strengthening the school's reflective culture. Additionally, sharing stories may foster positive relationships and cultivate trust and respect between students and faculty members.

Keywords: experiential education; reflection; self-awareness; storytelling.