The inclusion of a business management module within the master of pharmacy degree: a route to asset enrichment?
Background: Over the past decade the profession of pharmacy has steadily evolved. The New Pharmacy Contract exposed pharmacists to a fundamental change in traditional pharmacy business models.
Objective: This study will consider whether community pharmacists, pharmacy undergraduates and academic staff within the United Kingdom believe it would be beneficial to incorporate a business management module within the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) undergraduate degree along with potential mechanisms of delivery.
Methods: Further to ethical approval, the questionnaire was distributed to UK registered pharmacists (n=600), MPharm undergraduates (n=441) and academic staff at Liverpool John Moores University (n=44). The questions were formatted as multiple choice questions, Likert scales or the open answer type. On questionnaire completion and return, data were analysed using simple frequencies, cross tabulations and non-parametric techniques in the SPSS (v18).
Results: The majority of pharmacists (84.9%) confirmed that business skills affect their everyday responsibilities to a considerable extent. A high proportion of undergraduate students (92.8%) believed that business management skills will impact on their future role. In total, 64.3% of this cohort declared that if a module were introduced they would study it. The majority of staff (79%) agreed that business skills are gaining increased importance within the field of pharmacy.
Conclusions: Data suggest that business skills are of relevance to the practice of pharmacy. Appropriate staff to deliver the taught material would include business owners / lecturers and teaching practitioners covering topics including management, leadership, interpersonal skills and regulation. We suggest the inclusion of a business module with the MPharm degree would be of great value in preparing individuals for practice within a modern day healthcare setting.
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