Development of a direct observation of procedural skills rubric for fourth-year pharmacy students in ambulatory care rotations

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The development and implementation of a pilot program requiring direct observation of procedural skills (DOPS) assessments of fourth-year pharmacy students during ambulatory care rotations are described.


All fourth-year pharmacy students at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy who engaged in a required advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) in ambulatory care during the period January-May 2015 participated in a DOPS pilot program. The DOPS process required students to select a patient for a medication-focused “workup,” evaluate the selected patient case, present the results to a preceptor, and conduct a preceptor-supervised patient interview. Preceptors used a DOPS rubric to rate students’ performance in 12 domains. At the time of submission of DOPS evaluation forms, program participants were invited to complete online surveys soliciting feedback on the effectiveness of the DOPS evaluation process and other aspects of the program.


A total of 81 students and preceptors participated in the DOPS pilot program, with 47 DOPS evaluation forms submitted; the median ± S.D. score was 90.4% ± 29.7%. Results of the online surveys indicated that the overall perception of the DOPS program was positive, with majorities of both students and preceptors supporting DOPS incorporation into the curriculum for fourth-year pharmacy students.


The DOPS rubric was a useful tool for evaluating clinical skills of APPE students on ambulatory care rotations.

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