Evaluating Professional Engagement: Development and Pilot Testing of the Student Pharmacist Inventory of Professional Engagement (S-PIPE)

Benjamin D. Aronson, Ohio Northern University
Reid C. Smith, University of Minnesota - Duluth


Objective: The aim of this study is to describe the development and initial psychometric testing of a novel instrument, the Student Pharmacist Inventory of Professional Engagement (S-PIPE), to assess professional engagement. Methods: A 21-item instrument was developed from prior qualitative work that gathered students’ perceptions of professional engagement. A paper survey was offered to all third-year student pharmacists at a college of pharmacy. Exploratory factor analysis was performed using a principal component analysis (PCA) extraction. One item with low item-item correlation (<0.3) was removed after the initial extraction. After subsequent extraction with oblimin rotation, 1 item with weak loadings (<0.3) on all factors was removed. Another PCA extraction with oblimin rotation was performed. Three items with strong loadings (>0.4) on multiple factors were evaluated and placed in the best fitting conceptual factor. The internal consistency of the items within each factor was evaluated using Cronbach alpha. Results: A 5-factor solution emerged based upon eigenvalues >1, describing 70.34% of the variance in the data. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin value was 0.849, demonstrating “meritorious” sampling adequacy. Bartlett's test of sphericity was significant (P<0.001), indicating the data were factorable. Factors were named based upon the content of the items that comprised the factors. The 5 factors and their internal reliabilities are: belonging (alpha = 0.878, 6 items); professional impact (alpha = 0.750, 3 items); prepared for profession (alpha = 0.917, 2 items); educational impact (alpha = 0.788, 4 items); and growth (alpha = 0.745, 4 items). Conclusion: Professional engagement is an attribute vital to the professional membership of pharmacy. This research describes the development of a novel instrument to assess professional engagement in student pharmacists. The S-PIPE is composed of 5 factors with high internal reliability. Future research will involve expanding the question bank to cover all factors of professional engagement, and assessing validity and reliability of the complete instrument.