Students' experiences of the undergraduate pharmacy degree, and the potential role of mindfulness - a thematic analysis

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O'Driscoll, Michelle
Byrne, Stephen
Kelly, Maria
Lambert, Sharon
Sahm, Laura J.
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American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
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Objective: The objective of this qualitative study was two-fold; to (a) determine pharmacy students’ experiences of stress as part of the current pharmacy degree, and (b) explore the potential of incorporating the principles of mindfulness into course work in the undergraduate degree. Methods: Undergraduate pharmacy students from the five Schools of Pharmacy (SOPs) in Ireland were invited to take part in focus groups (FGs) between February and November 2016. Recruitment occurred via emails, sent by gatekeepers within each of the pharmacy schools. FGs were audio recorded, anonymized and transcribed by the researcher (MOD). Transcripts were analysed using the Braun and Clarke method of thematic analysis, and coded in QSR International NVivo Qualitative Data Analysis Software Version 11. Ethical approval was obtained Results: Twenty pharmacy students (60% female) representing all years of study from three of the five SOPs participated across five focus groups. The five key themes that emerged were (1) so much to do, so little time (2) the role of lecturers (3) we’re smart people, we want to do well (4) learning by doing and (5) mindfulness as a coping tool. Conclusions: The findings of this study support the hypothesis that students experience stress and would welcome mindfulness-based interventions as a management option in the degree. In particular, the emphasis that mindfulness places on experiential learning would be well received by students.
Pharmacy , Stress , Student , Mindfulness , Undergraduate
O’Driscoll, M., Byrne, S., Kelly, M., Lambert, S. and Sahm, L. J. (2018) 'Students’ Experiences of the Undergraduate Pharmacy Degree, and the Potential Role of Mindfulness - A Thematic Analysis', American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, ajpe6457, doi: 10.5688/ajpe6457
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