Predictors of student failure or poor performance on advanced pharmacy practice experiences

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American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


Objective. To determine factors predictive of student failure or poor performance on advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) at a single pharmacy program. Methods. This retrospective cohort evaluated students entering the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program from 2012-2014 at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Students who received a grade of F for one or more APPEs (failure group) were compared to all other students (non-failure group). A secondary evaluation compared students with a C or F on one or more APPEs (poor performers) to all other students (non-poor performers). Data were collected on didactic and experiential performance, identifiable professionalism issues from introductory pharmacy practice experiences (IPPEs), and academic honor code violations. Univariable and multivariable logistic regressions were performed to determine factors associated with APPE failure and poor performance. Results. A total of 669 students were analyzed. Twenty-eight students (4.2%) failed one or more APPEs and 81 students (12.1%) were identified as poor performers (grade of C or F). For the primary outcome, professional grade point average (GPA) of less than 2.7, practicum failure, IPPE professionalism issue(s), and pharmacotherapy course failure were identified for inclusion in the multivariable analysis. The IPPE professionalism issue(s) (HR 4.8 [95% CI 1.9-12.4]) and pharmacotherapy course failure (HR 4.2 [95% CI, 1.6-11.1]) were associated with APPE failure on multivariable regression. On the secondary analysis, the same variables were identified for multivariable regression, with professional GPA of less than 2.7 (HR 2.7 [95% CI 1.5-5]), IPPE professionalism issue(s) (HR 3.9 [95% CI 2.2-6.9]), and pharmacotherapy course failure (HR 2.0 [95% CI 1.1-3.7]) associated with poor performance. Conclusion. Poor academic performance and/or identified unprofessional behavior while completing IPPEs are associated with APPE failure and poor performance. Interventions should be aimed at identifying at-risk students and addressing risk factors prior to APPEs.

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