Quality of the educational environment in postgraduate community pharmacy education and the relationship with trainees’ basic psychological needs

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Marnix P.D. Westein https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9370-8125
Andries S. Koster https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7772-4654
Stéphanie M.E. van der Burgt https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7188-1827
Marcel L. Bouvy https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4596-0684
Rashmi A. Kusurkar https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9382-0379


Postgraduate education, Self-determination theory, Motivation, Job Satisfaction, Netherlands


Background: Quality of the educational environment affects trainee performance and well-being in postgraduate healthcare education. In pharmacy practice the quality of the educational environment has not been extensively studied. Self-determination Theory can assist in understanding the underlying mechanisms. Objectives: In this study, the quality of the educational environment and its relationship with satisfaction and frustration of trainees’ basic psychological needs and motivation were investigated in a Dutch community pharmacy postgraduate education programme. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, pharmacists specializing to become community pharmacists completed the Scan of Postgraduate Educational Environment Domains (SPEED), the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale for the Work Domain, and the Academic Motivation Scale. Confirmatory factor analysis followed by path analysis was used to analyse the relationships between the variables. Results: Out of 232 trainees, 205 responded (88%). Most trainees (82%) were positive about the quality of the educational environment. The resulting path model displayed a moderate to good fit. The perceived quality of the educational environment had a moderate positive association with basic psychological needs satisfaction (Factor loading = 0.40) and a similar negative association with basic psychological needs frustration (Factor loading = -0.47). Basic psychological needs frustration had a moderate association with an increased sense of internal and external pressures also known as controlled motivation (Factor loading = 0.31). Intrinsic motivation was not affected by the perceived quality of the educational environment. Conclusions: The educational environment was perceived as positive in most community pharmacies. However, having a less positive or a negative perception was associated with reduced satisfaction and increased frustration of trainees’ basic needs for autonomy, compentence and relatedness. Moreover, basic psychological needs frustration was associated with an increased perception of controlled motivation. We recommend supporting supervisors in creating a positive educational environment in pharmacy practice, thereby reducing the risk of basic psychological needs frustration and increased controlled motivation amongst trainees.

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