How are competency frameworks perceived and taught?: An exploratory study in the context of pharmacy education

Alison Thompson
Elise Paradis
Jamie Kellar
Rebecca Zhao
Soort article
Original Research
Competency frameworks,
Curricular reform,
Faculty perspectives,
Qualitative research,
Verscheen in

Introduction Faculties of Pharmacy worldwide have to adapt their curriculum to accreditation criteria. The present study explored how the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada’s (AFPC’s) 2010 Educational Outcomes are perceived and taught at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy (LDFP). These outcomes were adapted from the CanMeds Physician Competency Framework which describes both medical expert and non-expert roles.

Methods We wondered if pharmacy would struggle, as medicine has, to integrate these roles into curricula in meaningful ways, given the absence of previous studies from Pharmacy. We conducted an exploratory interview study with 10 core faculty members in charge of courses where non-expert roles were taught. Data were analysed using conventional content analysis.

Results Faculty members understood that the AFPC Outcomes are important for students, patients, and the profession of pharmacy, and some saw the roles as knowledge-based and teachable using content from academic disciplines. However, most saw them as skills taught informally or through clinical experience. They used the roles as a framing device to legitimize their course content and relied on informal role modelling to do most of the teaching. The few faculty members who taught content related to these roles had postgraduate education in a social science or humanities discipline.

Discussion Similar to studies of Faculties of Medicine, our study highlights the difficulty of translating a role-based, competency framework into concrete, integrated curricula for students. Competency development should be explicitly embedded into the curriculum and cannot be left to individual instructors.


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