An experiential observational study of graduates from the Japanese six year programme

Kayoko Takeda Mamiya, Kiyoshi Takahashi, Ian Bates, Nohoko Kurosawa, Kazumasa Hirata, Hideki Satoh, Yoshimitsu Shimamori


Objective: To provide an initial experiential competency assessment of the first wave of graduates from the reformed Japanese six-year pharmacy initial education programme.

Methods: The authors evaluated observed competencies of recently qualified pharmacists who graduated from the pharmacy six-year programme (6-YP pharmacists) from the perspective of experienced pharmacists from the previous national four-year initial education and training programme. A web-based survey of working pharmacists who had graduated from the previous pharmacy four-year programme (4-YP) was conducted, targeting 200 pharmacists (100 hospital pharmacists and 100 community pharmacists). Inclusion criteria specified working with, and having experience of, qualified 6-YP pharmacists. These recruits provided an observational evaluation of itemised competencies for the first wave of 6-YP pharmacists in workplace environments. This methodology was designed to overcome the logistical challenges of objective structured performance-related evaluation of practice competency.

Results: The 4-YP community pharmacists gave a significantly higher overall perceived competency assessment of the 6-YP pharmacists than did hospital pharmacists (p<0.05 U-test). In the competency assessment analysis, the improvements of competencies considered to be a priority for 6-YP community-based pharmacists were “medication therapy management” and “education and training competencies”, while the priority improvement competencies of 6- YP hospital-based pharmacists were considered to be “professionalism”, “inter-professional collaboration”, “medication therapy management”, “community health and medical care”, and “lifelong learning”.

Conclusion: This research suggests that curriculum improvement should continue to be reviewed together with efforts to better foster these competencies in initial education and training. Methods to continuously evaluate and improve the lower assessed competencies need to be introduced together with post-registration continued training, preferably using validated competency development frameworks in the near future. 


Educational Assessment; Pharmacy Education; Japanese Six-Year Pharmacy Programme; Competency; Workforce Development

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