Critical moments in student learning on international advanced pharmacy practice experiences

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate self-perceived critical moments that were transformative to learning in students who participated in an international advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE). Methods: Twenty-two pharmacy students from Purdue University College of Pharmacy, the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy who went on an international APPE participated in a one-hour focus group evaluating self-perceived critical moments that impacted their learning. Focus groups were coded using a conventional content analysis approach and went through a two-cycle open coding process to identify major themes according to country income classification. Results: Twenty-two students participated in the focus groups with 18% going to a high-income country (HIC) and 82% going to a low-to-middle income country (LMIC) location. Major themes identified within HIC locations included witnessing an innovative patient care technique and experiencing interprofessional healthcare team dynamics. Major themes identified within LMIC locations included engaging in a sensitive patient interaction, experiencing healthcare system barriers, going out of their comfort zone, and making a difference. Conclusions: International APPEs in both HIC and LMICs provided students with disorienting experiences that facilitated transformative learning and led to changes in their perspectives on patient care and pharmacy practice. While critical moments were different across country income locations, both provided valuable experiences that could be translated into local context.

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