Pilot study of focus groups exploring student pharmacists' perceptions of a medication management center internship

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning


Introduction: Student pharmacists are expected to participate in real-life, patient-centered experiences to help develop clinical knowledge and professional skills. This study explored student pharmacist intern perceptions of work experience at a medication management center (MMC). We also examined how working at the MMC helped fulfill curricular requirements, helped develop leadership skills, and provided professional development opportunities. Methods: Two focus groups were conducted with first-, second-, and third-year student pharmacist interns at the MMC in April 2019. The focus groups were audio recorded for verification purposes, transcribed, and analyzed thematically by two independent reviewers. Results: A total of five student pharmacist interns participated. Four main themes were identified: (1) knowledge; (2) communication; (3) time management; and (4) leadership, mentorship, and networking. Participants had opportunities to acquire new knowledge and skills outside the classroom, providing them an academic advantage while recognizing areas of deficiency. Students practiced communication skills that helped improve language skills and manage difficult patients, although telephonic consultations were challenging. Students learned to prioritize time with patients but reported difficulty managing their work schedules. Leadership, mentorship, and networking opportunities facilitated learning and improved their self-confidence. Conclusions: This qualitative analysis identified four key themes, highlighting the many benefits available for student pharmacist interns working at an academic-based MMC. Further research is needed to address challenges reported in this study and should include a larger sample of student pharmacists for more generalizable results.

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