Desirable Skills in New Pharmacists: A Comparison of Opinions From Practitioners and Senior Student Pharmacists

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Abstract

Objective:

To compare survey responses between licensed pharmacists who work with or employ new graduates and graduating senior pharmacy students at a college of pharmacy.

Design:

This was a retrospective analysis of surveys given to 2 groups of pharmacists and students. Responses to items regarding importance of desirable qualities in new pharmacists and level of preparation of new graduates were analyzed. Qualities included drug information, pharmacology, therapeutics, communication with patients/customers or health care professionals, professionalism, ethics, management, and conflict resolution.

Results:

There was consensus between pharmacists and students regarding the importance of all items (P > .05 for all comparisons). However, the percentage of pharmacists versus students who agreed that new graduates communicate effectively differed (86.7% vs 100%, respectively, P < .05). Of pharmacists surveyed at a career fair, 64.1% chose communication as the 1 skill that would distinguish an applicant, and retail and hospital pharmacists displayed a statistically significant (P < .05) difference in the audience (patients/customers vs other health care professionals).

Conclusion:

Pharmacists and students agree on the knowledge and skills essential for pharmacy practice but disagree on the level of preparation for effective communication. These results support ongoing efforts to improve the development of communication skills in the professional pharmacy curriculum.

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