Identifying opportunities for PharmD curricular reform by surveying oncology pharmacists about career preparedness and exposure

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Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning

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© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Introduction: The primary objective of the study was to assess factors that predict pursuit of an oncology post-graduate year 2 (PGY-2) residency. Additional objectives included identifying the role of and exploring opportunities for PharmD curricula to increase student interest in the oncology field. Methods: An anonymous 15-minute survey was developed and administered to oncology pharmacists and residents. Study participants were included if they were actively practicing as clinical pharmacists in an oncology setting in the US, maintained an active pharmacist license, and >18 years of age. Responses were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. All results are reported in aggregate, with the exception of quotes obtained from open-ended responses. Results: Eighty participants were included in analyses. After controlling for variance due to age, sex, race, years of practice, the number of oncology advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) correlated with pursuit of a PGY-2 residency in oncology (p = 0.047). Additionally, participants' perceived level of preparedness from didactic oncology training predicted pursuit of an oncology PGY-2 residency (p = 0.002). Emerging themes in pursuing oncology from open-ended items revealed that inclusion of supportive care in the didactic curriculum and having a family member or friend diagnosed with cancer were important factors. Additionally, participants' responses regarding PharmD curricula included recommendations to inform didactic and experiential education. Conclusions: The results support the need for reevaluation of oncology education in PharmD curricula. Further studies could explore specific aspects of didactic curriculum that impact the level of student preparedness, and which elements encourage a student pharmacist to seek further training in the oncology field.