Describing student performance: a comparison among clinical preceptors across cultural contexts
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Context: Health professional student evaluation during experiential training is notably subjective and assessor judgements may be affected by socio-cultural influences. Objectives: This study sought to explore how clinical preceptors in pharmacy conceptualise varying levels of student performance and to identify any contextual differences that may exist across different countries. Methods: The qualitative research design employed semi-structured interviews. A sample of 20 clinical preceptors for post-baccalaureate Doctor of Pharmacy programmes in Canada and the Middle East gave personal accounts of how students they had supervised fell below, met or exceeded their expectations. Discussions were analysed following constructivist grounded theory principles. Results: Seven major themes encompassing how clinical pharmacy preceptors categorise levels of student performance and behaviour were identified: knowledge; team interaction; motivation; skills; patient care; communication, and professionalism. Expectations were outlined using both positive and negative descriptions. Pharmacists typically described supervisory experiences representing a series of these categories, but arrived at concluding judgements in a holistic fashion: if valued traits of motivation and positive attitude were present, overall favourable impressions of a student could be maintained despite observations of a few deficiencies. Some prioritised dimensions could not be mapped to defined existing educational outcomes. There was no difference in thresholds for how student performance was distinguished by participants in the two regions. Conclusions: The present research findings are congruent with current literature related to the constructs used by clinical supervisors in health professional student workplace-based assessment and provide additional insight into cross-national perspectives in pharmacy. As previously determined in social work and medicine, further study of how evaluation instruments and associated processes can integrate these judgements should be pursued in this discipline.
- Pharmacy Research [348 items ]