Pharmacy students’ views on integration of science in the MPharm degree

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As MPharm curricula are required by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to be integrated1, and as the role of the pharmacist involves undertaking work relating to the science of medicines2, it is important that students perceive the relevance of the scientific aspects of their degree to their profession and clearly understand how these aspects can inform their practice. The MPharm curriculum is spiral in design, where topics and themes are revisited throughout the course3, facilitating a deepening understanding of each topic as part of the overall degree and its importance to professional practice as a pharmacist. The aims of this study were to assess Level 3 and 4 pharmacy students’ understanding of integration as a learning technique, and to assess their views on the integration of science within the MPharm degree at QUB.

A questionnaire was developed, with approval from the School of Pharmacy Ethics Committee, and distributed to Level 3 and Level 4 MPharm students. This consisted mainly of Likert scale questions, supplemented with free-text questions. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS, taking the form of simple descriptive statistics and the Mann-Whitney U. Thematic categorisation was performed for qualitative data.

The response rate was 76.0%. 88.5% of students stated that they understood (“agreed” or “strongly agreed”) the purpose of integration in the MPharm degree. The majority of students find both horizontal and vertical integration within the course to be helpful, and state that they are able to apply knowledge between topics. 92.1% of students believe that the role of the pharmacist requires the ability to integrate science and practice. A significantly greater number of Level 4 students, when compared with Level 3 students, stated that they could see the relevance of pharmaceutical analysis [70.1% (54/77) compared with 47.4% (45/95)] and the molecular structure of drugs [64.9% (50/77) compared with 47.4% (43/96)] to patient care.

Students self-report a good understanding and appreciation of the necessity of integration in the MPharm degree. The increased perception of the relevance of scientific aspects to the pharmacy profession in Level 4, when compared to Level 3, indicates the functioning of the spiral curriculum, where a deepened understanding of the importance and application of each aspect is further developed with each subsequent year, and new topics are related to those studied previously.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2017
Event8th All Ireland Pharmacy Healthcare Conference - Ballymascanlon House Hotel, Dundalk, Ireland
Duration: 17 Oct 201717 Oct 2017


Conference8th All Ireland Pharmacy Healthcare Conference


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