Engage Me! Exploring Student Pharmacist Perceptions of Professional Engagement

Benjamin D. Aronson, Ohio Northern University
Kristen K. Janke, University of Minnesota - Duluth
Andrew P. Traynor, Concordia University - Wisconsin


Objectives: To develop a student pharmacist consensus definition of professional engagement, a list of professionally engaging and disengaging activities, and characteristics leading to engagement or disengagement. Method: A two-round modified Delphi was conducted using student pharmacists who met inclusion criteria intended to select for professionally engaged students. The first round captured feedback on a working definition of professional engagement. Participants also listed activities where they found themselves to be professionally engaged or disengaged, and the characteristics which led to their engagement or disengagement. The second round assessed participants’ agreement with items gathered in the first round using a 5-point likert-scale. Results: A student pharmacist definition of professional engagement was created using thirteen items that reached consensus. For characteristics of both professional engagement and disengagement, all items reached consensus. The professionally engaging characteristics were grouped into four main categories: perceptions, relationships, modeling, and altruism. The professionally disengaging characteristics were grouped into the categories: incongruence, negativity, dishonor, and indifference. Seven of nine (77.8%) of the professionally engaging activities reached consensus and were grouped into the categories of learning, development and involvement. None of the proposed professionally disengaging activities reached consensus. Implications: This study developed a student pharmacist consensus definition of professional engagement, identified engaging activities, and generated a list of characteristics of professional engagement and disengagement. These findings have implications for creating professionally engaging learning experiences for student pharmacists. These results also suggest that recognizing and fostering the characteristics of professional engagement may be more important than the activities themselves.