IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION OF THE PILOT PROGRAM
The pilot program began during the first week of May 2004 with 6 students. One student was soon reassigned to technical duties because of a shortage of technical support at one site. Of the 5 students who completed the pilot project, 3 worked at a large academic teaching centre, each assigned to a different team of pharmacists. The other 2 students were placed at smaller acute care institutions and worked with all of the pharmacists within the department. Each student had a primary preceptor but was also supervised by all pharmacists on the team or in the department, which meant that nearly 40 pharmacists were involved in the pilot program. All students completed the midpoint and final evaluation surveys, as did the primary preceptor for each student. All pharmacists who interacted with students were asked to complete a survey and were encouraged to provide feedback. About half of the pharmacists responded at the midpoint, and about two-thirds completed the final survey. Highlights of the evaluation comments are outlined below with respect to knowledge, students’ experience, clinical role, and preceptors’ experience.
The students indicated that, for activities that had been taught in the undergraduate curriculum (for example, drug information activities and patient counselling), they had adequate baseline knowledge and skills before beginning the pilot program. Despite prior exposure to these activities in the academic setting, however, the students felt that the structured training provided in the program was helpful and that experience and support from working pharmacists helped them to successfully perform these tasks.
For activities to which the students had had no prior exposure in the undergraduate curriculum (such as total parenteral nutrition), both the pharmacists and the students indicated a need for additional training and support for the students.
For some of the activities to which students were exposed (such as those related to drug information), students rated their knowledge as high at the midpoint but lower on the final survey. Viagra Professional
According to the responses from both pharmacists and students, activities related to drug information represented a skill development and practice area where experience and additional training were required to complete the assigned tasks. By the time of the final survey, the students recognized that the knowledge they had gained from their academic program was a foundation upon which to build their drug informationskills and that a straightforward answer is not always available in the “real world”.
For patient counselling, the pharmacists indicated a greater need for training and support than the students indicated through self-assessment. This difference may reflect students’ lack of experience with a wide range of patients with varying needs. During interviews, the pharmacists noted that, following the structured training program, students required a role model and mentor whom they could observe, with whom they could practise the skill, and who would provide feedback.
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The final survey included a question regarding the impact of experience during the summer on success in performing a task. The majority of students and pharmacists agreed or strongly agreed that the experiential learning component was very important. In particular, the pharmacists indicated that experience during the summer had a substantial impact on students’ ability to successfully perform patient counselling.