Overcoming Communication Apprehension in Pharmacy Students

Dale Dong


Based on the growing market demand and high orders of responsibilities for pharmacists, this study examined communication competence in pre-pharmacy students through a survey of 209 freshmen college students at a northern California private university. The study found that pre-pharmacy students had the highest communication apprehension when compared with other majors such as social sciences, business and natural sciences in the same university (t=3.53; p< .001). The results were alarming since future pharmacists must have high communication competency, as they will need to offer high levels of communication services to their patients. Thus, a follow-up study was conducted, which examined possible ways to help pre-pharmacy students reduce their communication apprehension and enhance their communication competence through a focus group investigation. The focus group generated six principles to reduce communication apprehension and enhance communication competency for pre-pharmacy students including self-motivation, social involvement, participation communication training, self-regulation, uncertainty reduction through socialization and adaptability. Suggestions for reducing future pre-pharmacy students’ communication apprehension and limitation of the study are provided.


Communication Apprehension; Pharmacy Communication; Self-Motivation; Pharmacy Education

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