Pharmacy student & Community Pharmacist studies progress update

SUCCESS image credits to the_chosen_pessimist
(http://the-chosen-pessimist.deviantart.com/art/SUCCESS-100186742)

Well it has been a while since I wrote an update on our progress. So I suspect I have a lot to write about in this update post. February and March were very exciting months for us and I am pleased to say that the projects are progressing pretty much as well as we could possibly hope for. I love the photo above, I saw a presentation once where someone used this, and it is just such a great photo – perfectly demonstrates that feeling of yes – I’ve done it. Well we haven’t quite done it yet, but we are feeling pretty good about where we have got to so far so I thought this was a fitting image for this post!

Pharmacy Student Study Update

I have now reached the end of recruitment with our current 4th year Pharmacy students. Our total number of participants hit 43 – so we have no quite reached our target for the first (of 2) experiments with the pharmacy students. However, all 43 participants provided complete sets of data (for which I am very thankful) so they can all be part of the analysis. I am going to set about analysing this data now and see if we have found anything, but as we are 9 short of our minimum sample size of 52 for experiment 1 (we based this on Cohen’s power primer paper) I expect we will need to recruit and test some more participants. If the analyses don’t show anything significant yet (my sneak peaks definitely suggest there may be some trends) I will recruit the remaining 9 (or a few more if we can) from the 3rd year students once they have sat their dispensing exams next month.

I had completed the qualitative arm of experiment 1 at the end of 2011 so I am slowly transcribing this data and need to start analysing that too.

Community Pharmacist Study Update

To date we have 5 of the large multiple pharmacies signed up (this includes community pharmacies based in supermarkets). They all wrote back within a few days of receiving our letter and one company even rang to say how interested they were! We also have been contacted by a few community pharmacists (even before we sent out recruitment letters) who have seen our media coverage and said they would like to take part! We are thrilled by this response. We have yet to contact individual pharmacists, but we have our first project management group meeting on Thursday and we wanted to hold off before we spoke to our key advisors to make sure whether they had any hints and tips on how best to approach individual pharmacists (that we haven’t already thought of).

This brings me onto our second item – our project management group (PMG). I can’t quite believe we have managed to do this, but, we have a rather prestigious set of individuals (who I won’t name just yet as I haven’t asked them if I can) all involved in UK pharmacy practice either at a strategic, academic or practice level who have agreed to be members of our PMG. The first meeting is this Thursday (5th April 2012) which I am preparing for at the moment. This meeting will just be an introduction to the project, but we will meet 3 more times before the end of the project to discuss our findings and prepare our reports to PTECO and plan journal and conference papers.  The members of our PMG have been specifically selected to give a local and national strategic view on the impact our data may have on practice. They may also have alternative interpretations of our results to offer, given their insights into community pharmacy practice across organisations, experiences of running a community pharmacy and/or as a community pharmacist. This will ensure our research stays firmly grounded in UK pharmacy practice. Personally, I cannot wait for this first meeting, it is a huge opportunity for me to meet these individuals, nevermind have them involved in my doctoral research.

I think this study will move a lot quicker than the pharmacy student study so I hope to be providing very regular updates on our progress with it.

All in all, things are looking very good! What a lucky PhD student I am!

Mention in the Pharmacy Business Magazine

Today our project (with a smiley picture of me) was mentioned in the Pharmacy Business Magazine. I am so excited that already there is a bit of a buzz around this project. Not only have we been mentioned in the pharmacy business magazine, but we’ve had lots of visitors to our website and even researchers from other disciplines at our University talking about the research and asking me questions. Hopefully when we have the results at the end of the year – it will be just as exciting. Meanwhile all this attention has spurred me into getting lots of content uploaded to this site – which is great as sometimes I do need a bit of time pressure to get me kick started into action. Especially when it is term time and there is lots of teaching assistant work to be done.

Keep coming back for more updates – I am sure there are going to be lots as I start contacting community pharmacies to see if their pharmacists would like to take part in our study!

P.s. I am writing this whilst a student participant is taking part in the study in one of our sound proofed booths – the study has been running so smoothly after we ironed out most of the glitches in the pilots study that I can multi-task and get things like this done in between each stage of the study. Needless to say I am starting to feel quite relaxed on the days I am testing participants (which is a relief, because during the pilot study I was a bag of nerves).

PTECO funding

Last year around July time Jane, Marjorie and I submitted an application for funding to the Pharmaceutical Trust for Educational and Charitable Objects . We did this because we wanted to be able to recruit community pharmacists to take part in our study because of the impact that expertise, knowledge of and practice of a task has a huge impact on the amount of mental workload experienced when that task is being carried out. Our study takes about 1 hour 30 minutes for participants to complete and so we knew that without this funding we would be asking an awful lot of pharmacies and community pharmacists.

We are very pleased to announce that we were successful in our application for funding from PTECO. This means that we will be able to reimburse pharmacies for the cost of providing locum cover whilst their community pharmacists take part in our study. It is still up to the individual pharmacist whether they would or wouldn’t like to take part, but thanks to PTECO, the pharmacists who would like to take part, can take part during their normal working day and not use one of their precious annual leave days to take part.  

As a young researcher I am very grateful for this opportunity that PTECO have given us and we are hopeful that by working with PTECO that the results will make an impact on pharmacy practice through the promotion of the results through PTECO’s networks.

So as you can see very exciting times are ahead for this project!

You can also read more about this funding on the University of Bath news page and in the January edition of Professional Matters from the Pharmaceutical Journal.

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