Main Article Content
Students, Pharmacy, Career Choice, Personal Satisfaction, Pharmacists, Pharmaceutical Services, Australia
Background: In Australia, the profession of pharmacy has undergone many changes to adapt to the needs of the community. In recent years, concerns have been raised with evidence emerging of workforce saturation in traditional pharmacy practice sectors. It is not known how current final year pharmacy students’ perceive the different pharmacy career paths in this changing environment. Hence investigating students’ current experiences with their pharmacy course, interaction with the profession and developing an understanding of their career intentions would be an important step, as these students would make up a large proportion of future pharmacy workforce
Objective: The objective of this study was thus to investigate final year students’ career perspectives and the reasons for choosing pharmacy, satisfaction with this choice of pharmacy as a tertiary course and a possible future career, factors affecting satisfaction and intention of future career paths.
Methods: A quantitative cross sectional survey of final year students from 3 Australian universities followed by a qualitative semi-structured interview of a convenience sample of final year students from the University of Sydney.
Results: ‘Interest in health and medicine’ was the most important reason for choosing pharmacy (n=238). The majority of students were ‘somewhat satisfied’ with the choice of pharmacy (35.7%) as a course and possible future career. Positive associations were found between satisfaction and reasons for joining pharmacy such as ‘felt pharmacy is a good profession’ (p=0.003) while negative associations included ‘joined pharmacy as a gateway to medicine or dentistry’ (p=0.001). Quantitate and qualitative results showed the most frequent perception of community pharmacy was ‘changing’ while hospital and pharmaceutical industry was described as ‘competitive’ and ‘research’ respectively. The highest career intention was community followed by hospital pharmacy.
Conclusion: Complex factors including university experiences are involved in shaping students’ satisfaction and perception of career. This may relate to challenges in the community pharmacy sector, job opportunities in hospital and limited understanding of the pharmaceutical industry. The results offer insight for the profession in terms of entry into various roles and also to pharmacy educators for their roles in shaping curricula and placement experiences that attract future graduates to defined career pathways in pharmacy.
2. Community Pharmacy Agreement. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Available at: http://www.guild.org.au/The_Guild/tab-TheGuild/Community_Pharmacy_Agreements/Community+Pharmacy+Agreement.page (Accessed June 7, 2012).
3. Benrimoj SI, Frommer MS. Community pharmacy in Australia. Aust Health Rev. 2004;28(2):238-246.
4. O'Donoghue N. Supermarkets to sell ibuprofen and phenylephrine combos, Pharmacy News. 6 September, 2012.
5. O'Donoghue N. Pharmacy turnover in decline: ABS. Pharmacy News. 4 September 2012.
6. O'Donoghue N. Bankruptcy rates soar. Pharmacy News. 19 August, 2013.
7. O'Donoghue N. Guild predicts large increase in graduate numbers. Pharmacy News. 20 June, 2012.
8. Sclavos K. Pharmacist employment market. Aust J Pharm. 2011;92(1098):Article 18.
9. O'Donoghue N. Guild backs call for moratorium on pharmacy schools. Pharmacy News. 20 July, 2011.
10. O'Donoghue N. Jobs plentiful, but pay low, for pharmacy graduates. Pharmacy News. 14 December, 2011.
11. O'Donoghue N. Walk into a job with a pharmacy degree: report. Pharmacy News. 29 August, 2012.
12. Cowling K. Pharmacists deserve higher pay rates. Pharmacy News. 13 August, 2012.
13. Lee J, Mak V. Early career pharmacists working group (ECPWG) response to PSA issues paper on the future of pharmacy: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. 2010. Available at: http://www.psa.org.au/download/early-career-pharmacists/ECPWG-response-to-future-of-pharmacy-review.pdf (Accessed May 1, 2012).
14. O’Reilly C. PSA Early career pharmacists survey report 2010. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. 2010. Available at: http://www.psa.org.au/download/early-career-pharmacists/ecp-survey-report.pdf (Accessed May 1, 2012).
15. Anderson DC, Sheffield MC, Hill AM, Cobb HH. Influences on pharmacy students' decision to pursue a doctor of pharmacy degree. Am J Pharm Educ. 2008;72(2):22.
16. Keshishian F. Factors influencing pharmacy students' choice of major and its relationship to anticipatory socialization. Am J Pharm Educ. 2010;74(4):75.
17. Savage LM, Beall JW, Woolley TW. Factors that influence the career goals of pharmacy students. Am J Pharm Educ. 2009;73(2):28.
18. Siracuse MV, Schondelmeyer SW, Hadsall RS, Schommer JC. Third-year pharmacy students' work experience and attitudes and perceptions of the pharmacy profession. Am J Pharm Educ. 2008;72(3):50.
19. Willis SC, Hassell K, Noyce P. Career intentions of pharmacy students. J Health Serv Res Policy. 2008;13(Suppl 2):45-51. doi: 10.1258/jhsrp.2007.007112
20. Willis SC, Shann P, Hassell K. Pharmacy career deciding: making choice a "good fit". J Health Organ Manag. 2009;23(1):85-102.
21. Davey A, Evans AM, Stupans I. Pharmacy: Factors that influence the choice of career and study options. Pharm Educ. 2006;6(1):21-26.
22. Simpson MD, Wilkinson JM. The first graduate cohort at Charles Sturt University: What impact on the rural pharmacist shortage? J Pharm Pract and Res. 2002;32(1):69-71.
23. Taylor SJ, Maharaj P, Williams K, Sheldrake C. Pharmacy students' intention to practise in a rural setting: measuring the impact of a rural curriculum, rural campus and rural placement on a predominantly metropolitan student cohort. Aust J Rural Health. 2009;17(6):305-309. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1584.2009.01102.x
24. Capstick S, Beresford R. A comparison of student attitudes and intentions at the start and end of their BPharm degree programme. Pharm Educ. 2007;7(3):267-277.
25. Capstick S, Green J, Beresford R. Choosing a course of study and career in pharmacy - student attitudes and intentions across three years at a New Zealand School of Pharmacy. Pharm Educ. 2007;7(4):359-373.
26. Modipa SI, Dambisya YM. Profile and career preferences of pharmacy students at the University of Limpopo, Turfloop campus, South Africa. Educ Health (Abingdon). 2008;21(3):164.
27. Hasan SS, Kwai Chong DW, Ahmadi K, Se WP, Hassali MA, Hata EM, Hadi MA, Sridhar SB, Ahmed SI, Yean LB, Efendie B. Influences on Malaysian pharmacy students' career preferences. Am J Pharm Educ. 2010;74(9):166.
28. Kirby-Smith J, Portlock J, Brown D. Investigation of student views on industrial pharmacy. Pharm Educ. 2008;8(1):7-11.
29. Marrone CM, Ruble GC. Change in student perception after a pharmaceutical industry advanced pharmacy practice experience. Drug Inf J. 2010;44(2):131-136.
30. Price S. Future directions for career choice research in nursing: a discussion paper. Int J Nurs Stud. 2009 Feb;46(2):268-276. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2008.07.011
31. Hickey N, Harrison L, Sumsion J. Using a socioecological framework to understand the career choices of single- and double-degree nursing students and double-degree graduates. ISRN Nurs. 2012;2012:748238. doi: 10.5402/2012/748238
32. Lerner R. Making human beings human: bioecological perspectives on human development. California: Sage Publications; 2005.
33. Bronfenbrenner U. Interacting systems in human development. Research paradigms: present and future. In: Bolger N, Caspi A, Downey G, Moorehouse M, eds. Persons in Context: Developmental Processes. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; 1988.
34. Wilson K, Jesson J, Langley C, Hatfield K, Clarke L. Pharmacy undergraduate students: Career choices & expectations across a four-year degree programme. London: Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. 2006:99. Available at: http://www.pprt.org.uk/documents/publications/pharmacy_undergraduate_students_career_choices_and_expectations.pdf (Accessed October 25, 2012).
35. Mak VS, March GJ, Clark A, Gilbert AL. Why do Australian registered pharmacists leave the profession? a qualitative study. Int J Clin Pharm. 2013 Feb;35(1):129-137 doi: 10.1007/s11096-012-9720-5
36. Kiersma ME, Plake KS, Newton GD, Mason HL. Factors affecting prepharmacy students' perceptions of the professional role of pharmacists. Am J Pharm Educ. 2010;74(9):161.
37. Mak VS, March GJ, Clark A, Gilbert AL. Australian intern pharmacists’ perceived preparedness for practice, and their expectations and experiences of the internship year and future career intentions. Integ Pharm Res Prac.2013 2:25-34. doi: 10.2147/IPRP.S50387
38. Mahoney R, Katona C, Mcparland M, Noble L, Livingston G. Shortage specialties: changes in career intentions from medical student to newly qualified doctor. Med Teach. 2004;26(7):650-654.
39. Larsen PD, McGill JS, Palmer SJ. Factors influencing career decisions: Perspectives of nursing students in three types of programs. J Nurs Educ. 2003;42(4):168-173.