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Am J Pharm Educ. 2012 Sep 10;76(7):134. doi: 10.5688/ajpe767134.

A pharmacotherapy capstone course to advance pharmacy students' clinical documentation skills.

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  • 1College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.



To implement and assess the effectiveness of a capstone pharmacotherapy course designed to integrate in-class curriculum using patient cases and drug-information questions. The course was intended to improve third-year doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students' clinical documentation skills in preparation for beginning advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs).


This 2-credit, semester-long course consisted of 6 patient cases and 12 drug-information questions posted electronically on an Internet-based medical chart, a public health presentation, a knowledge examination, and an objective standardized performance assessment. In class, students engaged in active-learning exercises and clinical problem-solving. Students worked outside of class in small groups to retrieve and discuss assigned articles and review medication information in preparation for in-class discussions.


A rubric was used to assess the patient cases and questions that students completed and submitted individually. Data for 4 consecutive course offerings (n=622) were then analyzed. A significant improvement was found in the "misplaced" but not the "missing" documentation ratings for both assessment and plan notes in the final assessment compared with baseline. In course evaluations, the majority of students agreed that the course integrated material across the curriculum (97%) and improved their clinical writing skills (80.5%).


A capstone pharmacy course was successful in integrating and reviewing much of the material covered across the PharmD curriculum and in improving students' clinical documentation skills.


case-based learning; clinical documentation; clinical thinking; pharmacotherapy

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