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Perceptions on smoking cessation counselling competency among Malaysian pharmacy undergraduates: A preliminary study

Saraswathi Simansalam, Mohamad Haniki Nik Mohamed

Abstract

Background: There is a paucity of literature pertaining to smoking cessation counselling among Malaysian pharmacy students.

Aims: To assess pharmacy students’ perceptions from a private institution on their smoking cessation counselling competency. The relationships between constructs, namely self-efficacy, attitude, perceived ideal roles of pharmacists pertaining to smoking cessation counselling, practice activities and knowledge were also explored. The role of prior exposure to tobacco-related topics for selected constructs was determined. Lastly, students’ actual involvement in activities pertaining to provision of smoking cessation counselling was determined.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted whereby a 69-item questionnaire was administered to 140 pharmacy undergraduates to assess their perceptions on smoking cessation counselling competency which included self-efficacy, attitude, ideal role of pharmacists in providing smoking cessation counselling, knowledge and practice activities. Descriptive statistics, standard deviations and bivariate correlations were determined for all the constructs. The odds ratio were calculated to examine the relationships between the practice activities with other constructs. The mean differences, t-values, were determined to understand the role of prior exposure to tobacco-related topics for the selected constructs. The actual number and percentage of students’ involvement in activities related to smoking cessation counselling by their year of study were tabulated.

Results: A total of 137 students responded, of whom 77 from the final year and the remaining 60 from the third year. Generally, low scores were obtained for practice activities and knowledge. Self-efficacy and ideal role perceptions were significantly associated with the practice activities included in the questionnaire. The final year students, who had prior exposure to tobacco-related topics had significantly higher self-efficacy for smoking cessation counselling competency.

Conclusion: The low level of knowledge among the participants necessitates further training. Students with a minimal, approximately two-hour prior exposure to tobacco-related topics, demonstrated significantly higher self-efficacy. An implication of this study is that tobacco-related curricula focussing on smoking cessation counselling would be of value to future pharmacists in terms of their perceived competency as well as actual provision of smoking cessation counselling. 


Keywords

Competency, Malaysian Pharmacy Students, Practice, Perception, Self-Efficacy, Smoking Cessation Counselling


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