Pharmacy educators’ intention for the curriculum: an Australian pilot study


  • Christy Noble Medical Education Unit, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, Queensland & School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland
  • Ian Coombes Department of Pharmacy, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Queensland & School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland
  • Lisa Nissen School of Clinical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland & School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland
  • Nicholas Shaw School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland
  • Alexandra Clavarino School of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland


Curriculum, Professional Identity Formation, Pharmacy Academics, Undergraduate Pharmacy Education, Australia


Background: Pharmacy educators play an important role in supporting the professional identity formation of students, particularly in relation to their perceptions and strategies for the curriculum and subsequent learning experiences. 

Aim: To explore pharmacy educators’ perceptions of the purpose of the pharmacy curriculum and how they contribute to students’ development as pharmacists.

Methods: A one-off survey using a 20-item questionnaire distributed to all pharmacy educators at a single school of pharmacy who contributed to an Australian undergraduate pharmacy degree program.  

Results: Most educators viewed the curriculum and their role from a traditional perspective.  The educators felt the key purpose of the curriculum was to develop competent pharmacists by providing students with knowledge and skills.  There was a limited emphasis on patient-centredness. 

Conclusion: Whilst educators were focused on developing competent pharmacists through the provision of knowledge and skills, important learning opportunities supporting identity formation may be missed.

Author Biography

Nicholas Shaw, School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland

Professor, School of Pharmacy


Australian Pharmacy Council (2014) Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Programs in Australia and New Zealand. Canberra: Australian Pharmacy Council Ltd.

Benner, J. & Beardsley, R. (2000) White paper on pharmacy student professionalism. Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, 40, 96-102.

Bleakley, A. (2012) The curriculum is dead! Long live the curriculum! Designing an undergraduate medicine and surgery curriculum for the future. Medical Teacher, 1-5.

Bleakley, A. & Bligh, J. (2008) Students Learning from Patients: Let’s Get Real in Medical Education. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 13, 89-107.

Bleakley, A., Bligh, J. & Browne, J. (eds.) (2011) Medical Education for the Future: Identity, Power and Location, Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

Blouin, R.A., Riffee, W., Robinson, E.T., Beck, D., Green, C., Joyner, P.U., Persky, A. & Pollack, G.M. (2009) Roles of Innovation in Education Delivery. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 73, Article 154.

Broedel-Zaugg, K., Buring, S.M., Shankar, N., Soltis, R., Stamatakis, M.K., Zaiken, K. & Bradberry, J.C. (2008) Academic pharmacy administrators' perceptions of core requirements for entry into professional pharmacy programs. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 72, Article 52.

Chalmers, R.K., Adler, D.S., Haddad, A.M., Hoffman, S., Johnson, K.A. & Woodard, J.M. (1995) The essential linkage of professional socialization and pharmaceutical care. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 59, 85-90.

Dahlgren, M.A., Hult, H.K., Dahlgren, L.O., Segerstad, H.H.R.A. & Johansson, K. (2006) From senior student to novice worker: learning trajectories in political science, psychology and mechanical engineering. Studies in Higher Education, 31, 569 - 586.

Dall’alba, G. (2009) Learning to be professionals. Innovation and Change in Professional Education 4. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

Danielewicz, J. (2001) Teaching Selves: Identity, Pedagogy, and Teacher Education, Albany, NY, State University of New York Press.

Dipiro, J. T. 2009. Why Do We Still Lecture? American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 73, 137.

Fink, A. (2003) Reliable and Valid Survey Instruments, Thousand Oaks, CA, SAGE Publications, Inc.

Florence, A.T. (2002) The profession of pharmacy leaves science behind at its peril. The Pharmaceutical Journal, 269, 58.

Florence, A.T. (2004) If science does not underpin clinical practice, what does? The Pharmaceutical Journal, 272, 671.

Fraser, S.P. & Bosanquet, A.M. (2006) The curriculum? That's just a unit outline, isn't it? Studies in Higher Education, 31, 269 - 284.

Grimes, L., Shaw, M. & Cutts, C. (2013) Patient and public involvement in the design of education for pharmacists: Is this an untapped resource? Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 5, 632-636.

Jarvis-Selinger, S., Pratt, D.D. & Regehr, G. (2012) Competency Is Not Enough: Integrating Identity Formation Into the Medical Education Discourse. Academic Medicine, 87, 1-6.

Johnson, M., Cowin, L.S., Wilson, I. & Young, H. (2012) Professional identity and nursing: contemporary theoretical developments and future research challenges. International Nursing Review, 59, 562-569.

Lodico, M.G., Spaulding Dean, T. & Voegtle, K.H. (2010) Methods in Educational Research: From Theory to Practice, San-Francisco, CA, Jossey-Bass.

Munn, P. & Drever, E. (1990) Using Questionnaires in Small-Scale Research. A Teachers' Guide. Edinburgh: Scottish Council for Research in Education.

Newton, J.M., Billett, S., Jolly, B. & Ockerby, C.M. (2009) Lost in translation: barriers to learning in health professional clinical education. Learning in Health and Social Care, 8, 315-327.

Niemi, P.M. (1997) Medical students' professional identity: self-reflection during the preclinical years. Medical Education, 31, 408-415.

Noble, C., O'Brien, M., Coombes, I., Shaw, P.N. & Nissen, L. (2011) Concept Mapping to Evaluate an Undergraduate Pharmacy Curriculum. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 75, Article 55.

Ronfeldt, M. & Grossman, P. (2008) Becoming a Professional: Experimenting with Possible Selves. Teacher Education Quarterly, 35, 41-60.

Shah, R., Savage, I. & Kapadia, S. (2005) Patients' experience of educating pharmacy undergraduate students. Pharmacy Education, 5, 61-67.

Steinert, Y. & Snell, L.S. (1999) Interactive lecturing: Strategies for increasing participation in large group presentations. Medical Teacher, 21, 37-42.

Taylor, K.M.G. & Harding, G. (2007) The pharmacy degree: The student experience of professional training. Pharmacy Education, 7, 83 - 88.

Towle, A., Bainbridge, L., Godolphin, W., Katz, A., Kline, C., Lown, B., Madularu, I., Solomon, P. & Thistlethwaite, J. (2010) Active patient involvement in the education of health professionals. Medical Education, 44, 64-74.

Vu, T.T. & Dall’alba, G. (2011) Becoming Authentic Professionals: Learning for Authenticity. In Becoming a Professional (ed. L. Scanlon), Springer Netherlands, 95-108.

Weaver, R., Peters, K., Koch, J. & Wilson, I. (2011) ‘Part of the team’: professional identity and social exclusivity in medical students. Medical Education, 45, 1220-1229.

Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, meaning and identity, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.




How to Cite

Noble, C., Coombes, I., Nissen, L., Shaw, N., & Clavarino, A. (2014). Pharmacy educators’ intention for the curriculum: an Australian pilot study. Pharmacy Education, 14. Retrieved from



Research Article