Comparison of a Self-Care Therapeutics Course Taught in the P1 versus the P2 Year

Published in Journal of Pharmacy Practice:


Objective: The objective of this study was to compare student learning outcomes, behaviors, and attitudes in a non-prescription drug and self-care therapeutics course taught in the second professional (P2) year versus the first professional (P1) year at one pharmacy school.

Methods: Mean performance of students by class year on case consultations and exam scores were compared. Focus groups with student volunteers and course teaching assistants (TAs) and one-on-one interviews with a subset of instructors were conducted by an outside educational evaluation specialist to capture perceptions of student learning behaviors and attitudes.

Results:  There was no difference in performance on graded case consultations (mean difference 0.16, p=0.74, 95% CI [-0.77 – 1.09]), mid-term examinations (mean difference 0.53, p=0.62, 95% CI [-1.59 – 2.65]), or final examinations (mean difference 0.73, p=0.57, 95% CI [-1.83 – 3.30]) between P1 and P2 students. P1 students reported being more consistent in completing pre-class readings and in feeling less distracted by other courses than did P2 students. Students, TAs, and instructors consistently spoke about advantages of the course in the P1 year (e.g., less stress, greater eagerness to learn and apply skills at work) and disadvantages in the P2 year (e.g., distraction from concurrent P2 integrated pharmacotherapeutics course, tension between real-world experience and constraints of grading rubric). 

Conclusion: Despite taking the course one year earlier than P2 students, P1 students performed equally as well. All stakeholders agree that the advantages of teaching a self-care course on students’ learning behaviors and attitudes in the P1 year outweigh disadvantages.

Keywords: self-care, pharmacy education, non-prescription medications, flipped classroom, curriculum

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Comparison of a Self-Care Therapeutics Course Taught in the P1 versus the P2 Year by Elizabeth Bald, PharmD, Demetrius Kourtides, BS & Nicholas Cox, PharmD