A comparison of student attitudes and intentions at the start and end of their BPharm degree programme

Stuart Capstick, Rosemary Beresford


Students’ reasons for choosing pharmacy as a course of study and career, together with professional and educational perspectives, were evaluated by survey and compared longitudinally between the start and end of a New Zealand BPharm degree. In contrast with a number of studies in medical education, findings indicate persistence of patient-oriented, altruistic and empathetic attitude across years of study. Entrepreneurial intentions remain high, especially among male students. It is suggested that integration of science and communication aspects during later years of study, together with recognition of pharmacy’s scope of career pathways may help to engender commitment and optimism towards a pharmacy career.


Choosing pharmacy, career choice, longitudinal, undergraduate

Full Text:



Berenguer, B., La Casa, C., de la Matta, M. J., & Martin-Calero, M. J. (2004). Pharmaceutical care: Past, present and future. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 10(31), 3931–3946.

Cavenagh, P., Dewberry, C., & Jones, P. (2000). Becoming professional: When and how does it start? A comparative study of first-year medical and law students in the UK. Medical Education, 34, 897–902.

Cline, R. R., Mott, D. A., & Schommer, J. C. (1999). Relationship between attitudes, demographics and application decisions among pre-pharmacy students: An exploratory investigation. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 63, 394 – 401.

Cockerill, R., & Tanner, J. (2001). Choosing pharmacy: The impact of gender, race and cohort on career decisions. Journal of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 18(3), 111–115.

Davey, A., Evans, A. M., & Stupans, I. (2006). Pharmacy: Factors that influence the choice of career and study options. Pharmacy Education, 6(1), 21–26.

Ferguson, J. A., Roller, L., & Wertheimer, A. J. (1986). Social factors motivating students toward a career in pharmacy. An international study. Journal of Social and Administrative Pharmacy 3, 127–135.

Foppe van Mil, J. W., Schultz, M., & Tromp, Th. F. J. (2004). Pharmaceutical care, European developments in concepts, implementation, teaching and research: A review. Pharmacy World and Science, 26, 303–311.

Gums, J. G. (1994). Empathy to Apathy: A consequence of higher education? Pharmacotherapy, 14(2), 250–251.

Hassell, K. (2006a). Destination, future intentions and views on practice of British-based pharmacists 5 and 10 years after qualifying. Pharmacy World and Science, 28(3), 116–122.

Hassell, K. (2006b). Career choices, working patterns and the future pharmacy workforce. The Pharmaceutical Journal, 277, 137 – 138.

Hatfield, K., Marriott, J., & Harper, A. (2000). Raising awareness of hospital pharmacy among undergraduate pharmacy students. Hospital Pharmacist, 7(7), 199–201.

Hojat, M., Mangione, S., Nasca, T. J., Rattner, S., Erdmann, J. B., Gonnella, J. S., & Magee, M. (2004). An empirical study of decline in empathy in medical school. Medical Education, 38, 934 – 941.

Jesson, J. K., Langley, C. A., Wilson, K. A., & Hatfield, K. (2006). Science or practice? UK undergraduate experiences and attitudes to the MPharm degree. Pharmacy World and Science, 28(5), 278–283.

Kassebaum, D. G., & Cutler, E. R. (1998). On the culture of student abuse in medical school. Academic Medicine, 73(11), 1149 – 1158.

Petrie, K. J., White, G. R., Cameron, L. D., & Collins, J. P. (1999). Photographic memory, money, and liposuction: Survey of medical students’ wish lists. British Medical Journal, 319, 1593 – 1595.

Pharmacy Council of New Zealand (2005). Workforce demographics as at 1 June 2005. Report, Pharmacy Council of New Zealand. Wellington, New Zealand. news/documents/WebsiteReportAug05.pdf (accessed 15th October 2006).

Pratt, R. (1956). Analysis of a pilot study of factors that motivate individuals to select the health sciences as a career, with special reference to pharmacy. American Journal of Pharmacy Education, 20, 175–190.

Roller, L. (2004). Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in choosing pharmacy as a course of study at Monash University 1999– 2004. In: Peer Reviewed Proceedings of the 13th International Social Pharmacy Workshop, Malta, 19–23 July 2004. Pharmacy Education, 4, 199.

Seston, L., Shann, P., Hassell, K., & Willis, S. (2006). The future pharmacy workforce: Do pharmacy students want to be entrepreneurs? Bulletin of the Centre for Pharmacy Workforce Studies, 2, 1–4.

Silverthorne, J., Price, G., Hanning, L., Scanlan, J., & Cantrill, J. (2003). Factors that influence the career choices of pharmacy undergraduates. Pharmacy Eduction, 3, 161–167.

Smith, M. C., Gibson, J. T., Mikeal, R. L., (1974). Reasons for choosing pharmacy as an occupation. Drugs in Health Care, 1, 89–98.

Siracuse, M. V., Schondelmeyer, S. W., Hadsall, R. S., & Schommer, J. C. (2004). Assessing career aspirations of pharmacy students. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 68(3;75), 1–12.

Tiberius, R. G., & Cleave-Hogg, D. (1984). Changes in undergraduate attitudes toward medical ethics. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 130(6), 724–727.

Uhari, M., Kokkonen, J., Nuutinen, M., Vainionpaa, L., Rantala, H., Lautala, P., & Vayrynen, M. (1994). Medical student abuse: An international phenomenon. Journal of the American Medical Association, 271(13), 1049–1051.

Walker-Renard, P. (1994). Empathy to Apathy: A consequence of higher education? A Commentary Pharmacotherapy, 14(4), 508.

Willis, S., Shann, P., & Hassell, K. (2006). Report 4: Early choices questionnaire. Analysis of the questionnaire. Studying phar- macy: Who, when, how, why? What next? Centre for Pharmacy Workforce Studies, Manchester University. (Summary report available in Academic Pharmacy Group Newsletter (2006), Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 19 (1), 11–12. Available at:

Wilson, K., Jesson, J., Langley, C., Hatfield, K., & Clarke, L. (2006). Pharmacy undergraduate students: Career choices and expectations across a four-year degree programme, Report by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Available at Accessed 15th October 2006. Summary of research reported as a Pharmaceutical Journal (2006) editorial: Survey finds pharmacy ownership the top ambition for students. Pharmaceutical Journal, 277, 407

Wolf, T. M., Balson, P. M., Faucett, J. M., & Randall, H. M. (1989). A retrospective study of attitude change during medical education. Medical Education, 23, 19–23.

Woloschuk, W., Harasym, P. H., & Temple, W. (2004). Attitude change during medical school: A cohort study. Medical Education, 38, 522–534.

Zeldow, P. B., & Daugherty, S. R. (1987). The stability and attitudinal correlates of warmth and caring in medical students. Medical Education, 21(4), 353–357.


  • There are currently no refbacks.
article/comments.tpl article/footer.tpl