The mapping of pharmacy competency frameworks to M.Pharm. Curriculum themes through the medium of posters

Keating, J. J., Joynes, W., Purohit, S. and Sahm, L. J. (2018) The mapping of pharmacy competency frameworks to M.Pharm. Curriculum themes through the medium of posters. Pharmacy Education, 18 (1). pp. 232-233.


Background: The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) Core Competency Framework (CCF) is the cornerstone of the PSI's programme to reform/inform training and education of undergraduate and practising Irish pharmacists (PSI, 2013). The design, content and pedagogical approaches within the University College Cork (UCC) M.Pharm. programme have been heavily influenced and extensively mapped to all CCF behaviours. M.Pharm. students and faculty encounter challenges recognising where pharmacy themes such as patient safety and diabetes are located and taught across the curriculum and how they link to CCF behaviours. The primary aim of this work was to help fill this knowledge gap by creating visually appealing, informative and systematically designed posters which map UCC M.Pharm. curriculum themes in a hierarchical manner to academic years, modules, modular activities and, ultimately, the CCF. (Zelenitsky, 2014). Method: Data on curriculum components relevant to three M.Pharm. themes - patient safety, antimicrobials and diabetes - were collected by interviewing module coordinators and analysing both Blackboard® virtual learning environment (VLE) modular content and Book of Modules entries. Following data collection, landscape-orientated, A0 posters (one poster per theme) were designed to illustrate how each theme maps to the CCF via associated activities performed within modules. Posters were critiqued on their design, content and usefulness through five focus groups composed of M.Pharm. student year groups and pharmacy faculty. Thematic analysis of focus groups was subsequently performed. Results: Both pharmacy students and staff found the theme-mapped posters intuitively straightforward to navigate, user-friendly and enhanced their understanding of the relevance and application of PSI Core Competency Framework in informing the design of their M.Pharm. curriculum. Four themes were identified from thematically analysing the focus group data: poster design, posters as teaching and learning tools, application of the poster design as a template for other M.Pharm. curriculum mapping studies, and student attitudes towards the CCF. Conclusion: Student focus group analysis identified that CCF maps would be useful in increasing pharmacy student engagement and understanding with the PSI CCF. The chosen spider diagram-like poster design is readily adaptable to map pharmacy competency frameworks to other aspects of M.Pharm. modules, themes, experiential placements, curriculum content and various pedagogical curriculum approaches. The mapping design developed in this work could also be used as a template for other healthcare and professional courses whose curricula are underpinned by a competency framework.

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