Lets ThinkAbout It
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Communication Skills Comparison, P.2
A Pain Management Assignment, P.5
Lets Think About It is published three times a year by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATAL) in Mercer Universitys College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The purpose of CATAL is to support and promote effective and innovative teaching that enhances learning at the College. CATALs vision is to create a learning- centered community that promotes a culture of excellence in teaching and learning.
Lets Think About It has been the newsletter for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATAL) since February 1997 when Issue 1, Volume 1 was published. For the last several years, Dr. Grady Strom has edited the newsletter.
Dr. Strom has personally contributed numerous articles to the newsletter and shared his
perspectives and vision of innovations in teaching. We are grateful to him for his able
guidance for many years to bring this newsletter to you. Starting with this issue of the
newsletter, Dr. Leisa Marshall will serve as the new editor, and I will assist Dr. Marshall
as the associate editor. Dr. Strom will still continue to provide guidance to the newsletter,
as part of his overall championship of CATAL activities and events, and as chair of CATAL.
The newsletter will continue to provide a forum for faculty to share their experiences in
teaching, and we will bring information from the literature to enhance teaching at the
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. We encourage our College of Pharmacy and Health
Sciences faculty to write for the newsletter and send your submissions to Dr. Marshall.
Your submissions can include, but are not limited to, short reflective essays about your
first one or two years teaching in the academy, reports of your pedagogical research,
innovative techniques and approaches that facilitate learning, what works in your class,
or summaries of educational books or articles. Each submission will be reviewed by
the editors and selected members of CATAL. Please consult the CATAL website at
mercer.edu/catal for previous issues of Lets Think About It and for information about
programs offered by CATAL, such as the Journal Club and colloquy meetings.
This issue of the newsletter features two projects highlighting teaching and learning in the
classroom in the pharmacy program. The first article, authored by Drs. Lisa Lundquist,
Angela Shogbon and Kathryn Momary, provides a comparison of students perceptions
and faculty evaluation of students communication skills during an oral examination
in a therapeutics module. The second article, authored by Drs. Diane Nykamp and Leisa
Marshall, provides an example of using an existing electronic case study program on pain
management as the basis of an active learning activity in a therapeutics module.
Thank you and I hope you enjoy this issue of Lets Think About It.
Ajay K. Banga, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mercer University COPHS
VOLUME 13 ISSUE 1 FALL 2011
BackgroundThe Center for the Advancement of Pharmaceutical
Education (CAPE) and the Accreditation Council
for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) both advocate for
patient-centered pharmaceutical care.1-3 The CAPE
Outcomes recommend that pharmacists must be
able to communicate and collaborate with pre-
scribers, patients, caregivers, and other involved
health care providers to engender a team approach
to patient care2 and that pharmacists must apply
effective communication skills in interprofessional
relationships to improve the clinical, economic,
and humanistic outcomes of patients.3
To date, there is little published literature on
communication skills assessment in pharmacy
education.4-5 In a description of the current
practices of communication skills assessment
in colleges of pharmacy, the focus was on com-
munication with patients, not with other health
There are many opportunities to reinforce students
communication skills with patients in our College
of Pharmacy and Health Sciences through a
communications course, introductory pharmacy
practice experiences, mock patient counseling,
and oral examinations. Opportunities to strengthen
communication skills with health care providers
include introductory pharmacy practice experiences
and four classroom hours of instruction and
application of a framework for presenting clinical
recommendations regarding drug therapy and
specific communication skills to utilize. The majority
of opportunities to improve students communica-
tion skills with health care providers are not until
advanced pharmacy practice experiences. In an
effort to evaluate students communication skills
with health care providers, we compared second
professional year students perceptions and
faculty evaluation of performance of communication
skills during therapeutics oral examinations.
MethodsTwo patient case-based oral examinations were
given to all second professional year students
enrolled in the Cardiovascular/Renal III therapeutics
course. Students were provided with patient cases
prior to each oral examination to allow adequate
preparation time and the cases incorporated
disease states and pharmacotherapy previously
tested in written format. One oral examination
was given individually and one was a group oral
examination with groups of 4 students. During
the oral examinations, questions that were asked
were consistent with clinical practice. The stu-
dents served as the pharmacist developing and
communicating therapeutic recommendations
to the faculty members who served as another
health care provider.
Faculty assessed students communication skills
using a scoring rubric in the areas of rapport
(confidence, non-verbal, tone of voice, eye contact)
and presentation of therapeutic recommenda-
tions (concise, pronunciation, well-prepared,
patient-focused). Immediately following each oral
examination, students were asked to rate their
own communication skills using the same rubric.
Communication skills were rated on a 4-point
Likert scale with 1=needs significant development,
2=needs improvement, 3=developing excellence,
and 4=accomplished. Students perception of
performance on communication skills during
each oral examination was compared with their
respective facultys communication evaluation.
In addition, students perceptions of performance
on communication on their respective individual
and group oral examinations were compared.
Faculty evaluation of each students communica-
tion performance on the individual and group oral
examinations were also compared.
All data collected were approved by Mercer Univer-
sity Institutional Review Board. Students voluntari-
ly signed informed consent prior to participation.
Students perceptions were compared to faculty
evaluation of their communication skills using de-
scriptive statistics and Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test.
ResultsA total of 136 (97.8%) students completed com-
munication self-assessments. Facultys evalua-
tion of students in both the individual and group
oral examinations, were statistically significantly
Communication Skills: a Comparison of Students Perception and Faculty Evaluation of Performance on Therapeutics Oral Examinations
Lisa M. Lundquist, Pharm.D., BCPS | Angela O. Shogbon, Pharm.D., BCPS | Kathryn M. Momary, Pharm.D., BCPS
Figure 1. Individual Oral Examination: Student Perception and Faculty Evaluation