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Team Skills: Comparing Pedagogy in a Graduate Business School to That of a College of Pharmacy Professional Program

Sabra E. Brock, Zvi G Loewy, F. Ellen Loh
InSITE 2017 , 2017
Aim/Purpose: To measure the change in team skills resulting from team projects in professional and graduate school courses, a pilot study was conducted among students in two courses in a graduate school of business and one in the pharmacy school of the same institution of higher learning. This pilot study evaluated (a) students receiving training and practice in working as part of a classroom team were able to translate the formal training into the belief they had improved routine team interactions and experienced benefits from the intervention, and (b) determine whether changes in perceived team skills acquired by graduate business students differed from those of pharmacy school students.

Background: This pilot study examined the usefulness of adding a teamwork skills module imported from a graduate school of business to increasing team skills in a pharmacy curriculum.

Methodology: Thirty-five students (22 in a graduate school of business and 13 in a school of pharmacy) took a survey comprised of 15 questions designed on a 5-point scale to self-evaluate their level of skill in working in a team. They were then exposed to a seminar on team skills, which included solving a case that required teamwork. After this intervention the students repeated the survey.

Contribution: As the pharmacy profession moves to be more integrated as part of inter-professional healthcare teams , pharmacy schools are finding it necessary to teach students how to perform on teams where many disciplines are represented equally. The core of the pharmacy profession is shifting from dependence on the scientific method to one where team skills are also important.

Findings: The small size of the pilot sample limited significance except in the greater importance of positive personal interaction for business students. Directional findings supported the hypothesis that the business culture allows risk-taking on more limited information and more emphasis on creating a positive environment than the pharmacy culture given its dependence on scientific method. It remains moot as to whether directly applying a teaching intervention from a business curriculum can effectively advance the team skills of pharmacy students.

Recommendations For Practitioners: Educators in professional schools such as pharmacy and medicine may find curricular guidance to increase emphasis on learning teamwork skills.

Recommendations for Researchers: Researchers are encouraged to explore cross-disciplinary exchanges of teaching core business skills.

Impact on Society : The question is posed that as pharmacy schools and the pharmacy profession integrate more into the business of pharmacy whether this difference will close.

Future Research: A full study is planned with the same design and larger sample sizes and expanding to include students in medical, as well as pharmacy classes.
team skills, pharmacy education, business education, multi-disciplinary collaboration

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