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Lets Think About It is published three times a year by the Center for the Advancementof Teaching and Learning (CATAL) in Mercer Universi tys Col lege of Pharmacy andHealth Sciences.


  • Lets ThinkAbout It


    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

    Associate Editor

    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

    care providers.4

    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

    2 3


    n Co




    n Sc



  • higher than the students self-assessment of

    their communication skills in the following areas:

    confidence, respectful tone, absence of obvious

    nervousness, and concise and articulate. In ad-

    dition, in the individual oral examination, faculty

    rated students performance on correct profes-

    sional phraseology higher than the students self-

    assessment (p

  • contribute to improving students confidence and

    competence in the verbal communication of clinical

    recommendations to health care providers and

    better prepare them for practice as future pharma-

    cists. In addition, appropriate self-evaluation of

    performance is a key component to professional

    development. If you have the opportunity in your

    course, we encourage you to consider incorporating

    communication skills evaluation.

    ConclusionStudents perceptions of communication skills

    were consistently lower than facultys evaluation.

    Greater utilization of formal case-based oral

    examinations may help to improve students confi-

    dence and perception of their communication skills.

    References1. Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education

    (ACPE). Accreditation Standards and Guidelines

    for the Professional Program in Pharmacy Leading

    to the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree. Available at:


    PharmD_Standards_Adopted_Jan152006.pdf. Ac-

    cessed June 17, 2010.

    2. Center for