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Are we on the right track? Answers from a national survey of Thai graduates’ perceptions during the transition to the 6-year PharmD program

Authors Suttajit S, Suwannaprom P, Supapaan T, Eakanunkul S, Tangkiatkumjai M, Kongkaew C, Anderson C, Wongpoowarak P

Received 4 May 2018

Accepted for publication 16 July 2018

Published 27 September 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 713—722


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Majumder

Siritree Suttajit,1 Puckwipa Suwannaprom,1 Teeraporn Supapaan,2 Suntara Eakanunkul,3 Mayuree Tangkiatkumjai,4 Chuenjid Kongkaew,5 Claire Anderson,6 Payom Wongpoowarak7

1Department of Pharmaceutical Care, Faculty of Pharmacy, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand; 2Department of Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ubon Ratchathani University, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand; 3Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand; 4Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Srinakharinwirot University, Nakhon Nayok, Thailand; 5Department of Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand; 6Division of Pharmacy Practice and Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK; 7Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla, Thailand

Purpose: To serve the higher demands of pharmaceutical services, pharmacy education in Thailand has shifted from 5-year BPharm program to 6-year PharmD program with two specialization tracks: pharmaceutical care (PC) and industrial pharmacy (IP). This study aimed to compare the perceptions regarding professional competencies, pharmacy profession, and planned workplace between graduates with 5-year BPharm and 6-year PharmD and between those with PC and IP specialty.
Methods: A cross-sectional national survey using a paper–pencil self-administered questionnaire was distributed to all new graduates attending the pharmacy licensure examination in March 2015.
Results: Of all 1,937 questionnaires distributed, 1,744 were returned and completed (90% response rate). Pharmacy graduates rated highest on their competencies in professional ethics, followed by PC services and system management. They rated low confidence in medication selection procurement and pharmaceutical industry competencies. The 6-year PharmD graduates showed higher confidence in ethics and professional pride than the 5-year BPharm graduates. Graduates with PC specialty rated higher perceived competency in PC, system management, primary care, and consumer protection domains, while the IP graduates were superior in IP and medication selection and procurement domains, and most graduates (PC and IP) intended to work mainly in a hospital or a community pharmacy. Hospital was preferred for the PC graduates, and the IP graduates were more likely to work in pharmaceutical industry, regulation and consumer protection, sales and marketing, and academia.
Conclusion: With some gaps still to be filled, the transition from 5-year BPharm to 6-year PharmD program with specialty tracks gave extra confidence to graduates in their specialty competencies and professional pride, leading to differences in preferred workplace. The findings of this study reflect that Thai pharmacy education continues to adjust to the needs of the society and the changing health care environments. Longitudinal monitoring to observe this transition is needed for both curriculum adjustment and competency of the graduates.

Keywords: attitude, pharmacy education, PharmD curriculum, competency, transition, Thailand

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