Development and evaluation of a professional development framework for pharmacy undergraduate students to support their learning in professional practice

  • Ioana Stupariu

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The roles of pharmacists have changed in the last decades requiring pharmacists to keep up with, and even anticipate, the changes in practice to continue to be competent healthcare professionals. Competency or professional development frameworks have been developed and validated to support pharmacists with their learning and development. However, such a tool has not been developed for pharmacy undergraduate students and it is sensible to think that such a framework might also help pharmacy students in their learning and competency development. Thus, the aim of this research was to identify competencies required of pharmacy undergraduate students and to develop, and evaluate the use of, a professional development framework for these students.A mixed methods approach was adopted in the two-phased study. A cross-sectional design was employed in the first phase. Literature on pharmacy students’ competencies was reviewed and a series of workshops, focus groups and interviews with pharmacy students and academics, and stakeholders in pharmacy were conducted to identify the competencies required of pharmacy students during their degree and to develop the framework. The findings of previous rounds of data collection fed into the subsequent rounds. After five iterations 17 competencies were identified and divided in two clusters: Professional; and Delivery of Patient Care Competencies.A longitudinal design was used in the second phase. The use of the framework was evaluated with third and fourth year pharmacy students who self-assessed their competencies three times in two schools of pharmacy over the academic year of 2009-2010. The students’ self-assessed competencies increased over the year and correlated positively with their examination results and perceived self-directedness towards learning.This research provides evidence that the framework captures pharmacy undergraduate students’ development of their competencies during the academic year based on their self-assessed competence. Thus, the framework can be used as a self-assessment tool to support their learning.
Date of Award31 May 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMarjorie Weiss (Supervisor), Susan Jones (Supervisor) & Raisa Laaksonen (Supervisor)


  • competence
  • competency
  • pharmacy
  • undergraduates
  • competency framework

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