The College of Pharmacy (CoP) at the University of Utah underwent significant curriculum change in 2015 for the PharmD program. One of the changes was a new requirement for all PharmD students to complete a two-year research project beginning in the third year of the program. The students are assigned a designated project mentor for two years. With 60 students (on average) per class and two years of students working on their project, 120 student projects are ongoing at any given time. At a College Council meeting at the CoP in 2019, some faculty expressed concern about the time it takes to mentor students. The CoP has limited survey data assessing mentor experiences, but we lack insight on mentor’s perceptions and experiences of the PharmD project. This study engaged mentors in a conversation that led to a better understating of their core experiences. 1-3 This quality-improvement project aimed to begin a systematic investigation with the hope to increase our knowledge and understanding of the individual experiences of mentors. These projects’ sustainability is impossible without mentors. We developed theories that helped us propose ways to improve the overall process for the mentors.
Study participants: Project mentors for the PharmD classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021. Faculty investigators interviewed selected participants. Recorded interviews were transcribed, and thematic coding was conducted using Atlas Ti to make recommendations to the college council.
|Pharmaceutics||1||Adjunct or other||3|
Overall, most mentors considered the PharmD projects to be a valuable activity for the students. Still, some argued that this only serves as an introduction to research for students since most PharmD students are not planning to pursue a career in research or academia. Mentors participating in PharmD projects would like a better return on their investments other than a poster presentation and probable publication. Further research is warranted, including students to make it a collaborative effort to gain insight into their mutual experiences, so the overall quality of this process can be improved. The themes provide opportunities for the project structure to opened up and made more flexible to accommodate the variety of schedules and projects being mentored during the two years.
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