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Objective. To determine whether bullying is a significant factor in the clinical training of pharmacy students.

Methods. The literature as well as the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards and American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) surveys were reviewed for mention and/or measurement of bullying behaviors in the clinical training of pharmacy students. The authors used a Delphi process to define bullying behavior. The consensus definition was used to analyze 2,087 in-house student evaluations of preceptors for evidence of bullying behaviors. The authors mapped strings of text from in-house student comments to different, established categories of bullying behaviors.

Results. The ACPE Standards and AACP surveys contained no mention or measures of bullying. The 2013 AACP survey data reported overwhelmingly positive preceptor ratings. Of the 2,087 student evaluations of preceptors, 119 (5.7%) had at least 1 low rating. Within those 119 survey instruments, 34 comments were found describing bullying behaviors. Students’ responses to the AACP survey were similar to data from the national cohort.

Conclusions. Given the evidence that bullying behaviors occur in pharmacy education and that bullying has long-term and short-term damaging effects, more attention should be focused on this problem. Efforts should include addressing bullying in ACPE Standards and AACP survey tools developing a consensus definition for bullying and conducting more research into bullying in the clinical training of pharmacy students.

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 78(6) [Article 117]. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. doi:10.5688/ajpe786117