Design and evaluation of a pharmacist tutor training programme


  • Gillian Knott James Cook University, Townsville
  • Linda Crane Bond University, Gold Coast
  • Ian Heslop James Cook University, Townsville
  • Beverley Glass James Cook University, Townsville


Sessional Staff, Pharmacy, Pharmacist Tutor, Training Programme, Programme Evaluation


Background: Sessional staff are increasingly involved in health education at universities, although the lack of training and support experienced has been highlighted in recent years. Formal guidelines now exist in Australia for the management, support and training of sessional academic staff, with training programmes gradually becoming established in the majority of Australian universities. There is considerable variation in design, as well as limited data on the evaluation of such programmes in Australia. However, it is recognised that for optimal benefit, the programme should not only be institutionally supported, but also relevant to the needs of the particular discipline.

Aims: To design and evaluate a tailored training and support programme for pharmacist tutors who are involved in pharmacy student education at a regional Australian university.

Method: A pharmacist tutor needs-analysis study conducted at James Cook University (JCU) informed the design of the training programme. The programme was evaluated using two post-training participant self-evaluation surveys. Simple descriptive statistics and qualitative thematic analysis were used to analyse the survey data.

Results: More than 80% of participants were satisfied with the design of the programme in terms of structure, content and duration. The second evaluation survey revealed that significant increases in self-rated tutor confidence and competence had occurred over the first semester of employment, particularly in the perceived problem area of assessment and marking.

Conclusion: This study has confirmed the benefits of discipline-specific tutor training, particularly to improve both tutor confidence and competence. 

Author Biographies

Gillian Knott, James Cook University, Townsville

Lecturer, Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Dentistry

Linda Crane, Bond University, Gold Coast

Deputy Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine

Ian Heslop, James Cook University, Townsville

Associate Professor, Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Dentistry

Beverley Glass, James Cook University, Townsville

Professor of Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Dentistry


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How to Cite

Knott, G., Crane, L., Heslop, I., & Glass, B. (2018). Design and evaluation of a pharmacist tutor training programme. Pharmacy Education, 18, p 189–196. Retrieved from



Research Article