Pharmacy students’ understanding and perceptions around medication adherence

Lauren MacDonald, Jasmina Fejzic, W. Neil Cottrell


Background: Pharmacists can optimise patients’ medication adherence, hence pharmacy students should be acquiring professional competence to ensure they are prepared for their future professional role. Pharmacy curricula need to carefully address the concept of adherence.

Aim: To investigate undergraduate pharmacy students’ understanding and perceptions of medication adherence across the four years of the Pharmacy programme in an Australian school of pharmacy.

Method: Following piloting and ethical approval, a 20 statement electronic survey was distributed online to all undergraduate pharmacy students across four year levels. Students expressed their level of understanding and perceptions of ‘medication adherence’ on a 5-point Likert scale. The variation in mean responses across year levels and demographic groups was analysed using one-way ANOVA (p<0.05).

Results: Of the 858 students, 20.4% completed the survey. Students did not have comprehensive understanding of adherence, even though the majority (61.14%) felt confident regarding their ability to understand its causative factors. A non-significant variation in student responses was observed across year levels. Students considered ‘adherence education’ to be important for future practice.

Conclusion: Students’ understanding and perceptions around medication adherence did not vary significantly as they progressed through the degree. Suitable curriculum content around medication adherence could assist in optimising students’ preparedness for practice. 


Adherence Education, Australia, Medication Adherence, Pharmacy, Students

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