Commencing and graduating pharmacy students’ perceptions of their professional development during undergraduate study


  • Martina Fredericka Mylrea James Cook University
  • Tarun Sen Gupta James Cook University
  • Beverley D Glass James Cook University


Professional Identity, Self-determination Theory, Pharmacy Education, Health Professionals, Motivation


Objective: Professional development is key to professional conduct and behaviour in the practice. The aim of this study was to ascertain the factors affecting professional development of commencing and graduating pharmacy students.

Methods: Student volunteers participated in two focus groups for an in-depth exploration of their opinions and experiences which impacted their professional development. Focus group transcripts were analysed for emergent themes.

Results: Three common themes were revealed by both commencing and graduating students, namely pharmacist- educators, curriculum and placement/part-time work, were identified as contributing positively to student professional development.

Conclusions: Although factors influencing professional development are similar, differences do occur in the prioritisation and emphasis placed on these factors by the two student groups. Pharmacist-educators are pivotal in student professional development, however the nature of the interactions between student and educator increases in complexity during the degree programme. Autonomy-supportive teaching potentially provides an instructional framework to support student professional development needs. 

Author Biographies

Martina Fredericka Mylrea, James Cook University

Lecturer - Discipline of Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Dentistry


Tarun Sen Gupta, James Cook University

Professor - College of Medicine and Dentistry


Beverley D Glass, James Cook University

Professor - Discipline of Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Dentistry



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How to Cite

Mylrea, M. F., Sen Gupta, T., & Glass, B. D. (2018). Commencing and graduating pharmacy students’ perceptions of their professional development during undergraduate study. Pharmacy Education, 18, p 259–267. Retrieved from



Research Article