Pharmacist and pharmacy student perceptions of a competency-based national licensing exam for entry to pharmacy practice in Qatar: A qualitative study


  • Jillian Reardon University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Daniel Rainkie Qatar University, Doha
  • Emily Black Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Kyle Wilby Qatar University, Doha
  • Banan Mukhalalati Qatar University, Doha
  • Samar Aboulsoud Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners, Supreme Council of Health
  • Sherief I Khalifa Qatar University, Doha
  • Zubin Austin University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario


Perception, Competency-Based Exam, Licensure


Introduction: The College of Pharmacy at Qatar University partnered with the Qatar Supreme Council of Health to pilot a competency-based final cumulative assessment as a model for subsequent national licensing exams. The objective of this study was to explore perceptions of pharmacy stakeholders on a national licensing exam.

Methods: A qualitative study was undertaken in Qatar using three focus groups; two with pharmacists (N = 3 and 8) and one with graduating pharmacy students (N=5). Focus groups were facilitated using a topic guide developed by study investigators. Discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Results were analysed using framework analysis.

Results: Four major themes were identified: i) Perception of current licensing process, ii) exam impact on stakeholder perception of pharmacists, iii) perceived implementation barriers, and iv) facilitators of successful implementation.

Conclusion: Participants identified the importance of a competency-based exam. Barriers were identified that must be addressed to facilitate successful implementation. 

Author Biographies

Jillian Reardon, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia

Patient Care Practitioner and Lecturer - Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Daniel Rainkie, Qatar University, Doha

Clinical Lecturer- College of Pharmacy

Emily Black, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Assistant Professor - College of Pharmacy

Kyle Wilby, Qatar University, Doha

Assistant Professor - College of Pharmacy

Banan Mukhalalati, Qatar University, Doha

PhD Candidate at the University of Bath & College of Pharmacy, Qatar University

Samar Aboulsoud, Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners, Supreme Council of Health

A/Professor Internal Medicine, Cairo University, Accreditation Manager, Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners

Sherief I Khalifa, Qatar University, Doha

Professor - Qatar University, College of Pharmacy

Zubin Austin, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

Professor and Murray Koffler chair in Management - Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy


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Research Article