Exploring career development through a student-directed practicum to provide individualized learning experiences

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning


Introduction: The primary objective was to assess the impact of an optional student-directed career development program on career and professional development between the second and third year of a doctor of pharmacy curriculum. Methods: Students who completed the student-directed practicum (SDP) completed a nine item pre−/post-survey assessing its impact on their career development within the learning constructs of discovery, application, and reflection. Additional open-ended questions assessed why students participated in the SDP and their perceived benefits of doing so. An additional questionnaire regarding the impact of the practicum was conducted at graduation. Quantitative data were analyzed with Wilcoxon signed-rank test for the pre−/post-survey and descriptive statistics for the graduation survey while qualitative data used a two-cycle open coding process. Results: Statistically significant increases were noted with those responding with “agree” or “strongly agree” to each of the nine statements in the pre−/post-survey. Students participated to further explore career options, and believed doing so resulted in enhanced career direction and future employability. The graduation survey showed those participating in the SDP had a higher rate of: postgraduate placement (86% vs. 77%), receiving ≥ five residency interview offers (81% vs. 69%), and first or second choice residency match (92% vs. 85%) compared to those who completed an internship outside of the SDP. Students commented that the SDP was a valuable part of their education and helped them take the next steps for their career. Conclusions: A student-directed career development experience can positively impact student's career direction and professional development.

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