An Exploration of the Suitability of Pharmacy Education in Saudi Arabia to Prepare Graduates to Meet Healthcare Needs: a Mixed-Methods Study

Alfaifi, Salihah (2023) An Exploration of the Suitability of Pharmacy Education in Saudi Arabia to Prepare Graduates to Meet Healthcare Needs: a Mixed-Methods Study. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The key role of pharmacists within the health system, particularly in optimising safe, responsible and effective use of medicines, underpins the demand for a highly skilled and competent workforce. Therefore, developing the capacity of pharmacists to attain and maintain essential competencies relevant to the population’s health needs is required to ensure a high standard of patient care, thereby helping to improve patient and population health. In Saudi Arabia, little evidence exists regarding the assessment of national educational programmes’ structure and outcomes. Moreover, no national competency framework exists for pharmacists in any sector or stage of practice. In the absence of such core quality elements to inform pharmacy education assessment and development, the extent to which pharmacy schools in Saudi Arabia prepare competent pharmacists to address societal needs from pharmacy services is unclear. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the extent to which pharmacy education can prepare competent pharmacists to address the healthcare needs for pharmacy practice in Saudi Arabia.

An exploratory sequential mixed methods research design was used to address the aim of this study in three phases: individual interviews and focus groups were employed with a purposively selected sample of pharmacy policy makers, pharmacists and the public to explore societal healthcare needs and the roles required of pharmacists to meet those needs; a national online survey of pharmacists and an online nominal group consensus method of pharmacy experts were used to identify competencies considered essential to develop a profession-wide national foundation level competency framework; and a case study in which curriculum mapping of two purposively selected Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) curricula was used to assess the extent to which the current pharmacy programme in Saudi Arabia meets the identified competencies of the developed national competency framework.

Based on qualitative and quantitative analyses of societal healthcare needs, pharmacists’ roles, core competencies and curricular contents within the local context of Saudi Arabia, findings showed that there is a mismatch between initial education and real practice needs and expectations. While the country’s current needs from pharmacists are to optimise health system capacity and increase access to primary care services and medicines expertise in community pharmacies, the study indicated local education is product-oriented with a focus of curricular content and experiential training opportunities in most schools on preparing future pharmacists for hospital pharmacy practice. The study also identified several gaps between current initial education programmes and the competencies required to practise the expected roles, suggesting that current initial education might not prepare the students sufficiently to provide the full range of quality pharmaceutical services as per the country’s pharmacy practice needs.

The study provided a new understanding of graduates’ readiness to practise as per the country’s pharmacy practice needs, the quality of educational programmes and pharmacists' professional development opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Findings maybe used to inform the development of competency-based education and maximise graduates’ capacity to deliver and develop pharmaceutical services effectively to best meet societal healthcare needs in Saudi Arabia.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bridges, Stephanie
Arakawa, Naoko
Keywords: pharmacists, pharmacy education, Saudi Arabia
Subjects: R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Pharmacy
Item ID: 73900
Depositing User: Alfaifi, Salihah
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2023 04:40
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2023 04:40

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