Leadership activity implementation for pharmacy students

Micallef, Ricarda and Kawani, Dildar (2019) Leadership activity implementation for pharmacy students. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference : Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy; 03 - 04 Jul 2019, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Background and Aims: Leadership is an essential skill for all graduates. For pharmacists, it is highlighted throughout the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree, and once qualified. The pharmacy regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) along with the professional body, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the British Pharmaceutical Students Association (BPSA), all advocate and encourage the development of leadership skills. ‘Demonstrate leadership’ is one of the nine GPhC standards that all pharmacy professionals including pharmacy students should abide by.1 Furthermore leadership is also important within the national health service (NHS) as it has proven to have a positive impact on healthcare service outcomes.2 Currently there is nothing noteworthy in the MPharm degree that directly addresses leadership skills development. This study aimed to create interventions for students to take part in and then assess on students’ leadership knowledge, confidence and ability, both before, and after the intervention. Methodology: There were three phases of this project; Phase I was the designing of tools which consisted of creating leadership activity material, Pre and Post activity questionnaires and interview questions. Phase II was data collection and implementation of intervention, where participants took part in three 1-hour interventions, involving leadership theories, teamwork leadership scenarios and leadership traits. Phase III involved participants completing a questionnaire before and after the intervention, based on the student leadership practices inventory.3 Participants were also interviewed post intervention. The sample size was 36 students; 9 from each of the four years of the MPharm course, with varying extracurricular experience, after a pilot involving 15 students. All questionnaires were analysed using SPSS. Interview transcripts were analysed through thematic analysis. The University ethics committee ethically approved this project. Results: When comparing student responses pre and post activity, there was an increase in Likert Scale score with a statistical significance (p-value ≤ 0.05) for 11/12 leadership statements, with biggest increases for statements being a confident leader and accepting leadership responsibility. There was no notable difference when comparing responses pre- activity based on Year group, However there was an increase in Likert score when comparing participants with 2 or more extracurricular activities to 1 or 0 (statistically significant for 4/12 statements). Thematic analysis identified four main themes; Definitions of leadership, understanding of leadership, activities and confidence in leadership, each with associated subthemes. 28 Conclusion: There is great emphasis on leadership skills within the pharmacy profession, hence it is crucial for this important aspect of practice to be addressed in the MPharm course. The results of this study clearly demonstrate that after participation of the leadership activities created, there was a significant increase in student’s leadership knowledge, confidence and ability. Hence, we would recommend that these activities be incorporated into the MPharm curricular, and other courses, during future curriculum design. A workshop will explore leadership theory, outlining some key leadership theory and allowing participants to experience some of the intervention created to allow a greater understanding of student leadership activities, and increase knowledge, confidence and ability, and identify ideas for application in other courses. References: 1: General Pharmaceutical Council. Standards for Pharmacy Professionals. May 2017. Available at: https://www.pharmacyregulation.org/sites/default/files/standards_for_pharmacy_profession als_may_2017_0.pdf Accessed 14 January 2018. 2: West M, Eckert R, Armt LLK, West T, Lee A. Leadership in Health Care: A Summary of The Evidence Base', The Kings Fund. undefined: 1-9. 3: Kouzes, J. Posner, B. The Student Leadership Challenge: Five Practices for Becoming an Exemplary leader. 2nd Ed. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass. 2014.

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