Availability of International Rotations and Its Effect on Accepting Admission Offers by Prospective Students into a Professional Health Care Related Program
Nnenna Agamegwa, Oluwaseun Ajayi, Okunade Olateru-Olagbegi, Bryan Mildort, Obianuju Okponyia, Adefemi Ige, and Joseph Kalu, Pharmacy Students,
Raniya Ali Al-Matari, Ph.D., and Bisrat Hailemeskel*, Pharm.D., Professor
Howard University College of Pharmacy
The availability of international rotations as a tool to attract students into a professional school has been a point of emphasis as seen in many recent studies. It is known that international health experiences appeared to have an important impact on the decisions and attitudes of medical residents (1-4). There are many factors on why students would want to explore an international rotation, these factors include things like previous international experience, cultural affiliation from prospecting students and growing interest from incoming vs local students.
In a current study highlighting U.S. medical school graduates entering residency training, more than 25% of the graduates had some type of international health experience (5). With that in mind, students may be persuaded into attending a school with an option of international rotations. On the contrary, international rotations could be overlooked based on barriers like the cost of traveling internationally. As more students continue to take advantage of international experiences, programs that highlight these opportunities could see an increase in applicants. The aim of the study is to determine how international rotations could influence prospecting pharmacy students to go into a program that offered it. Factors include things like international experience, cultural affiliation, whether the students are incoming vs local and the cost of traveling internationally.
A survey was developed and administered to the first professional pharmacy students. A total of 78 questionnaires developed as survey and administered via online using Qualtrics. The study was done as a part of the drug information course which is a 3-credit hour mandatory course for entering students. The study variables were grouped by the range, average, standard deviation, variance, reasons for seeking information, and frequency. The data was rated on a 5-point scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree).
Table 1: Demographic Characteristics:
|CHARACTERISTICS||PARTICIPANTS IN %
(N = 78)
|Age (in years)|
|Education Level Prior to entering the Pharmacy program|
|Previous Pharmacy related work experience (in years)|
Graph 1: Opinion of students who accepted admission based on the presence of an international Rotation
Graph 2: Proportion of students who believe International rotation as a tool for admission.
Based on the data collected, the following results were obtained: Over two-thirds of students 55/78 (70.5%) agreed that international rotations in certain countries appeared to be more beneficial than others. Over two-thirds of participants either strongly disagree of somewhat disagree with the idea of not signing up for international rotations. On the other hand, the majority 58/78 (74.4%) of participants either strongly or somewhat agreed with the idea of supporting the international program because of their future plans to work and engage in international pharmacy work within a couple years of graduating.
Participants were also asked their opinion about continuing of having the international rotation option at the school. Eighty-three percent of participants in the study either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the notion that students learn a lot more from other countries and thus would recommend keeping the International Rotation program.
In order to determine some of the factors for choosing an international rotation, students were also asked of their opinion. Majority of students agreed 53/78 (68%) that cultural affiliation would be a determining factor when a choosing international rotation. Students were for the most part impartially considerate (30%) of unnecessary bias amongst incoming pharmacy students. About 5% of the students strongly disagreed with the notion.
A student t-test was performed to determine if any of the demographic factors have any influence on the outcome. About one-half 36/78 (46%) of the male participants have plan to pursue international occupations after pharmacy school, while only about one-fourth 22/787 (28%) of females planned to do so. Those who have you worked or had a job before coming to the pharmacy program believed International rotations seem to be more ap pealing for incoming students than local student and the difference was statistically significant (44 (57.9%) vs. 2 (2.6%); t=0.49)
With regards to our study, gender is a factor that influences the appeal of international rotations for incoming students. Significantly more females found international rotations appealing for incoming students than local students (43.4% vs 17.1%; p = 0.023 respectively). While these findings are accurate, results might have bias due to the demographic of the class. There are 55 women and 23 men in our class. If the numbers for both genders were identical, the results could illustrate different findings.
This study looked to identify if availability of international rotations serves as a factor to attract incoming students to join a pharmacy program. Based on the data analysis of 77 students who responded to the survey, the availability of international rotations is favored by the majority including those who do not have a plan to participate. Significantly more females found it more appealing than their male counterpart. Overall, having an international rotation in a pharmacy program has a positive outcome among entering pharmacy students.
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Bisrat Hailemeskel, B.Pharm, MSc, Pharm.D., RPh
PROFESSOR & VICE CHAIR, Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy Sciences
Co-Director for International Grants
College of Pharmacy, Howard University
(202) 806-4214; Fax (202) 806-4478