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Does a transition in education equate to a transition in practice?: Thai stakeholder’s perceptions of the introduction of the Doctor of Pharmacy programme

Chanakit, Teeraporn; Low, Bee Yean; Wongpoowarak, Payom; Moolasarn, Summana; Anderson, Claire


Teeraporn Chanakit

Bee Yean Low

Payom Wongpoowarak

Summana Moolasarn


Pharmacy education and pharmacy practice are facing remarkable changes following new scientific discoveries, evolving patient needs and the requirements of advanced pharmacy competency for practices. Many countries are introducing or undertaking major transformations in pharmacy education. The Thai pharmacy curriculum has been changed from a 5-year BPharm and a 6-year PharmD to only a 6-year PharmD programme. Curriculum change processes usually involve stakeholders, including both internal and external educational institutions, at all levels. This study aims to understand the experiences and perceptions of stakeholders regarding the transition to an all-PharmD programme in Thailand.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted in Thailand with 130 stakeholders (e.g., policy makers, pharmacy experts, educators, health care providers, patients, students and parents) from August-October 2013. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using an inductive thematic analysis.

Three main themes were derived from the findings: 1. influences on curriculum change (e.g., the needs of pharmacists to provide better patient care, the US-Thai consortium for the development of pharmacy education); 2. perceived benefits (e.g., improve pharmacy competencies from generalists to specialists, ready to work after graduation, providing a high quality of patient care); and 3. concerns (e.g., the higher costs of study for a longer period of time, the mismatch between the pharmacy graduates’ competency and the job market’s needs, insufficient preceptors and training sites, lack of practical experience of the faculty members and issues related to the separate licenses that are necessary due to the difference in the graduates’ specialties).

This is the first study to highlight the issues surrounding the transition to the 6-year PharmD programme in Thailand, which was initiated due to the need for higher levels of competency among the nation’s pharmacists. The transition was influenced by many factors. Many participants perceived benefits from the new pharmacy curriculum. However, some participants were concerned about this transition. Although most of the respondents accepted the need to go forward to the 6-year PharmD programme, designing an effective curriculum, providing a sufficient number of qualified PharmD preceptors, determining certain competencies of pharmacists in different practices and monitoring the quality of pharmacy education still need to be addressed during this transitional stage of pharmacy education in Thailand.


Chanakit, T., Low, B. Y., Wongpoowarak, P., Moolasarn, S., & Anderson, C. (2015). Does a transition in education equate to a transition in practice?: Thai stakeholder’s perceptions of the introduction of the Doctor of Pharmacy programme. BMC Medical Education, 15(1), 1-36.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 22, 2015
Online Publication Date Nov 19, 2015
Publication Date 2015-12
Deposit Date Nov 27, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 12, 2018
Journal BMC Medical Education
Electronic ISSN 1472-6920
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Article Number 205
Pages 1-36
Public URL
Publisher URL


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