Comparison of self-reported professional competency across pharmacy education programs: a survey of Thai pharmacy graduates enrolled in the public service program
Nithima Sumpradit,1,2 Siritree Suttajit,3 Saowalak Hunnangkul,4 Thunthita Wisaijohn,1 Weerasak Putthasri1
1International Health Policy Program, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand; 2Food and Drug Administration, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand; 3Faculty of Pharmacy, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand; 4Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
Introduction: Thai pharmacy education consists of two undergraduate programs, a 5-year Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BScPsci and BScPcare) degree and a 6-year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D). Pharmacy students who wish to serve in the public sector need to enroll in the public service program. This study aims to compare the perception of professional competency among new pharmacy graduates from the three different pharmacy programs available in 2013 who enrolled in the public service program.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among new pharmacy graduates in 2013 using a self-administered, structured, close-ended questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of respondents' characteristics and perception of professional competencies. The competency questions consisted of 13 items with a 5-point scale. Data collection was conducted during Thailand's annual health professional meeting on April 2, 2013 for workplace selection of pharmacy graduates.
Results: A total of 266 new pharmacy graduates responded to the questionnaire (response rate 49.6%). There were no significant differences in sex and admission modes across the three pharmacy programs. Pharm D graduates reported highest competency in acute care services, medication reconciliation services, and primary care services among the other two programs. BScPsci graduates reported more competence in consumer health protection and herbal and alternative medicines than BScPcare graduates. There were significant differences in three competency domains: patient care, consumer protection and community health services, and drug review and information, but no significant differences in the health administration and communication domain among three pharmacy programs.
Conclusion: Despite a complete change into a 6-year Pharm D program in 2014, pharmacy education in Thailand should continue evolving to be responsive to the needs of the health system. An annual survey of new pharmacy graduates should be continued, to monitor changes of professional competency across different program tracks and other factors which may influence their contribution to the health service system. Likewise, a longitudinal monitoring of their competencies in the graduate cohort should be conducted.
Keywords: pharmacy education, professional competency, pharmacy graduate, Doctor of Pharmacy, Thailand
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