Assessment of levels of moral reasoning in pharmacy students at different stages of the undergraduate curriculum
Gallagher, C. T.
Objectives: The principal aim of this study was to demonstrate the maturation of moral reasoning among pharmacy students as they progress through a 4-year degree programme at a school of pharmacy in the UK. Methods: The moral reasoning of 332 students from across all 4 years of the Master of Pharmacy (M Pharm) degree, together with 13 faculty members, was assessed using Rest's Defining Issues Test over a 1-week period. Key findings: The results demonstrate clear increase moral reasoning scores through all years of study and on into membership of the faculty. This trend was highly significant (t = 7.09; df = 1; P < 0.001). The coefficient of variability (R2) was calculated as 0.92 using linear least squares regression. There was a wide range of moral reasoning scores at each educational level: the top 18% of the Level 1 cohort achieved higher scores than the bottom 11% of faculty. Conclusions: The students at a school of pharmacy at a UK university experienced significant moral growth throughout the course of their studies. A further, longitudinal study of the cohort, which attempts to correlate the moral development with age, sex, level of education and mode of delivery of moral education is warranted.