Assessment of Pharmacy Student Didactic and Clinical Preparedness Surrounding LGBT and Mental Illness Patient Populations

Presenter: Alyssa Long

Research Category: Health Sciences
Student Type: Undergraduate
PI: Mark Douglass
Award Winner Category: Health Sciences

Objective. To conduct a knowledge and confidence assessment of pharmacy student practice readiness related to specific stigmatized patient populations.

Methods. An anonymous survey was administered to third (P3) and fourth (P4) professional year pharmacy students at Northeastern University. The survey assessed the breadth and depth of didactic education and clinical experiences involving lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) patients and patients diagnosed with mental illness.

Results. The survey response rate among P3 and P4 cohorts was 41% (100/241).  Both student cohorts demonstrated competence related to LGBT and mental illness stigma knowledge measures, with 94% and 95% of respondents correctly answering related questions, respectively. Regarding practice readiness, 51% and 62% of all students lacked confidence with treating patients who identify as LGBT and patients with mental illness, respectively. Students attributed their lack of confidence to inadequate curricular preparation pertaining to LGBT patients (71%) and mental illness patients (91%).

Implications. Despite high performance on knowledge measures, P3 and P4 students expressed discomfort in treating patients identifying as LGBT and patients with mental illness. Students felt unprepared to effectively treat these stigmatized patient populations due to insufficient didactic and experiential learning opportunities. This data supports incorporation of more active learning into the Northeastern University pharmacy program.