Preceptor Perceptions of Pharmacy Student Performance Before and After a Curriculum Transformation

Am J Pharm Educ. 2021 Aug 12;8575. doi: 10.5688/ajpe8575. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective. To explore the perceptions of preceptors about the performance of undergraduate pharmacy students during experiential placements in Australia, before and after curricular transformation. Methods. Twenty-six preceptors who had recently supervised students from the transformed curriculum and the previous curriculum were interviewed, using a semi-structured approach. A directed content analysis approach was used to analyze the transcripts. Results. Preceptors described students from the transformed curriculum as having improved professional skills, behaviors, and attitudes, and an increased ability to perform clinical activities, compared to students of the previous curriculum. Perceptions of the knowledge levels of the two cohorts varied. Preceptors perceived that students in the transformed curriculum had improved clinical knowledge and knowledge application. They expressed less frequently that students in the transformed curriculum had knowledge levels that were below their expectations. Conclusion. The results of this study suggest that curricular transformation with a focus on skill-based and active learning can improve the performance of pharmacy students in terms of their professional behaviors and attitudes, skills, knowledge, and clinical abilities, as perceived by preceptors.

Keywords: active learning; curriculum design; curriculum reform; curriculum transformation; preceptor perceptions; professional skill development.