W. R. HAMILTON ET AL.
Summary of null hypothesis results.
Null Hypotheses Null Hypothesis Supported? Significance
1 There will be no change in the level of a student’s confidence in making OTC product
recommendations change after the virtual pharmacy exam experience. No p < 0.001
2 Pharmacy work experience is not related to the level of confidence in making OTC
product recommendations. Yes N.S.
3 There will be no change in the level of a student’s perceived competence in making
OTC product recommendations change after the virtual pharmacy exam experience. No p < 0.001
4 Pharmacy work experience is not related to the level of perceived competence in
making OTC product recommendations. Partially p < 0.01 N.S. p < 0.01
5 There will be no change in the level of a student’s perceived comfort in making OTC
product recommendations change after the virtual pharmacy exam experience. No p < 0.001
6 Pharmacy work experience is not related to the level of perceived comfort in making
OTC product recommendations. Yes N.S.
the statistically non-significant comparison of competence in
the post-test. Respondents with and without work experience
reported a virtually identical level of competence. This indi-
cates that respondents’ exposure to the virtual pharmacy ex-
amination format and course content brought both experienced
and inexperienced respondents up to the same level of post-test
competence. The statistical significance of the pre-post differ-
ence in competence between the work-experienced and work-
inexperienced groups is not attributable to the difference seen
in the pre-test, nor to the course or exam. Differences are sig-
nificant but are in the opposite direction. This significance is
attributable to the fact that work-inexperienced respondents had
a higher and statistically significant pre-post increase than those
with pharmacy work experience. Neither the presence nor ab-
sence of work experience had a statistically significant rela-
tionship with confidence and comfort levels compared within
the pre-test and post-test groups (Table 2).
Though not specifically addressed by the research questions,
possible relationships among age, gender and experience with
the outcome variables of confidence, competence and comfort
were examined in order to take into account possible alternative
explanations for the results. While respondent age correlated
significantly with work experience (r = 0.398, p < 0.001), gen-
der did not. Yet, when examining confidence, competence and
comfort among the work-experienced group by gender, males
had significantly higher levels of pre-confidence (p < 0.01) and
pre-competence (p < 0.05) with no significant difference by
gender in either of the comfort measures. Of interest is that
subsequent to exposure to the virtual pharmacy examination
and course content, there was no significant difference by gen-
der in the post-confidence and post-competence measures. Men
and women were virtually at the same level. These same com-
parisons by gender showed no significant differences in any
comparisons in the respondents with no work experience.
There was no measure of actual or real world performance in
making nonprescription product recommendations by these
students. Exposure to course content likely contributed to
changes observed in respondents’ perceptions of confidence,
competence and comfort when making nonprescription product
The survey measured student self-perceptions of confidence,
competence and comfort in making nonprescription product
recommendations. The analysis indicates that exposure to the
course content and the more realistic simulation experiences of
the virtual pharmacy examination were strongly related to the
observed increases in confidence, competence, and comfort.
Despite differences in prior pharmacy work experience, the
data indicate that students arrived at the same levels of compe-
tence, confidence and comfort in making nonprescription
The authors wish to express their gratitude to Ted A. Kasha,
B.S. for his assistance in the design and management of the
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standards and guidelines for the professional program in pharmacy
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