Images of pharmacy as a career: a survey among groups of year 12 students at school

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Abstract

To explore the images and perceptions of pharmacy with potential applicants to undergraduate pharmacy education. There is currently considerable interest in the UK in studying aspects of the pharmacy profession because of the changing pharmacy agenda and the need to understand the workforce and its motivations. Aim: To explore the images and perceptions of pharmacy with potential applicants to undergraduate pharmacy education. Design: Four interactive focus groups involving 40 volunteer year 12 students (age 17). The focus group theme plan was designed after a review of relevant literature. A novel approach was employed using photographic images of pharmacists and doctors in varied settings. Subjects and setting: The research was carried out in six schools in the West Midlands, UK. Results: The students presented a rather negative image of pharmacy as a boring occupation in a laboratory or the back of a shop. Most had little idea of what pharmacists actually do. Unlike nursing, they were unaware of positive role models in the media. The small number who did have a realistic idea of pharmacy based it on their previous work experience in pharmacy. Conclusions: The focus group technique is useful for exploring hitherto untapped perceptions of the profession. Undertaking research with year 12 students provided some useful insights into the ways in which pharmacy as a profession is perceived. Although no claims to generalisability are made here, the results were fed into the design of quantitative surveys. The somewhat negative image presented suggests that the profession has more work to do in marketing itself to young people as a potential career choice.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-186
Number of pages4
JournalPharmaceutical Journal
Volume280
Issue number7489
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2008

    Keywords

  • pharmacy, undergraduate pharmacy education, pharmacy agenda

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