RESEARCH ARTICLE: Preparing students for pharmacy practice using critical thinking and reflection


  • Kimberly B. Garza Auburn University, Alabama, United States
  • Channing R. Ford Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama, United States
  • Lindsey E. Moseley Auburn University, Alabama, United States
  • Bradley M. Wright Auburn University, Alabama, United States



Critical thinking, Patient case, Reflection, United States healthcare system


Background: Social, behavioural, and administrative sciences are among the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education (ACPE) mandated foundational knowledge requirements for pharmacy school curricula. However, they are often taught in isolation, whereby students lose sight of their meaning and significance in the Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process (PPCP).     

Objective: The objective was to assess performance and critical thinking skills and explore student perceptions of a Longitudinal Patient Case assignment that integrates knowledge from multiple domains into a learning experience exploring how patients and pharmacists navigate the complexities of the US healthcare system.    

Methods: Student pharmacists developed their case throughout the term by incorporating course concepts, then submitted a narrated PowerPoint presentation. Quantitative data sources included overall scores, scores for each domain, midterm and final examination scores, and final course grades, analysed using descriptive statistics and Pearson’s correlation. Student reflections encouraged self-discovery and professional identity development and served as the qualitative data source. Thematic analysis occurred through a multi-phase approach.     

Results: All first-year student pharmacists (n = 153) participated. Scores on the narrated PowerPoint were significantly correlated with midterm and final exams and were moderately correlated with overall course grades. Themes that evolved from students’ self-reflections focused on project execution and learning/knowledge.     

Conclusions: Synthesising and applying content across a course in this manner enables students to make connections, think critically, and be creative.

Author Biographies

Kimberly B. Garza, Auburn University, Alabama, United States

Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy, Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy

Channing R. Ford, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama, United States

Graduate Studies

Lindsey E. Moseley, Auburn University, Alabama, United States

Office of Student Success, Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy

Bradley M. Wright, Auburn University, Alabama, United States

Department of Pharmacy Practice, Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy


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How to Cite

Garza, K. B., Ford, C. R. ., Moseley, L. E. ., & Wright, B. M. . (2021). RESEARCH ARTICLE: Preparing students for pharmacy practice using critical thinking and reflection. Pharmacy Education, 21, p. 789–802.



Research Article