(1994; 60 pages)
5.3 Undergraduate education in pharmacy
The education and training of pharmacists should be based on their attainment of educational objectives that correspond to the professional tasks relevant to the country concerned, and to their roles, functions and responsibilities in health teams. The learning experiences, and the methods of evaluating the knowledge, skills and attitudes involved in satisfactory practice performance, must be relevant to the components of professional competence. The design and management of the curriculum should apply the curricular principles of continuity, sequence and integration so that students may progressively master the necessary professional skills at the expected levels of performance, by their repeated performance at increasingly complex levels.
Schools of pharmacy should review their methods of curriculum planning and assessment in the light of these principles of curriculum management. This review would need to take account of the constraints on current university education in different countries; the relationship of professional practice-based training to university education; and the politics, economics and customs of the country concerned. Students, pharmacy practitioners, and other concerned parties have important contributions to make in the planning and management of curricula.
To maintain the relevance of undergraduate education to changing patterns of practice, curricula should be kept under regular review by academic pharmacists, together with pharmacists from all aspects of practice and other concerned parties, such as health administrators and specialists in curriculum management and evaluation.
In common with most health professional education, pharmacy education programmes, while often indicating the relevance of topics to practice, need to do more towards helping students achieve competence in the application of knowledge in practice; this would involve the linking of knowledge, skills and attitudes in professional problem-solving.
Over the last 30 years the amount of teaching related to the action and uses of drugs and medicines has been increased significantly, and this has been further enhanced by the strong movement in many courses towards clinical pharmacy teaching. However, the increase in pharmacology teaching has had to compete with the demands from other aspects of the programme without any corresponding increase in the length of curricula and without any notable revision of methods of designing and managing curricula.
Courses in pharmacy law, ethics and practice make a vital contribution to the roles of pharmacists in the rational use of drugs and in the prevention and management of drug abuse.