Pharmacists’ clinical knowledge and practice in the safe use of contraceptives: real knowledge vs. self-perception and the implications

Ana Golić Jelić*, Ljiljana Tasić, Ranko Škrbić, Valentina Marinković, Svjetlana Stoisavljević Šatara, Nataša Stojaković, Vanda Marković Peković, Brian Godman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pharmacists are often the first healthcare professionals that patients contact with their illnesses and requests for medical information, which is enhanced following the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Community pharmacists are expected and required to possess a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills. Self-assessment of these competencies is needed for their self-improvement. Purpose of the study: To assess pharmacists’ clinical knowledge and practice in the safe use of contraceptives, and to compare the scores obtained by external observation with pharmacists’ self-assessment of their knowledge as well as investigate the significance of preceptorship experiences. Contraceptives was chosen as the subject area in view of high rates of abortions as a means of contraception in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Methods: A questionnaire approach was used. The questionnaire included the following: the first domain contained two case scenarios (safe use of contraceptives), which evaluated clinical knowledge, a second domain in which pharmacists self-assessed their knowledge to resolve cases from the first domain and a third domain that measured the demographics of pharmacists (including experience in preceptorship). Dispensing practice was evaluated in the second domain. The questionnaires were distributed to a convenient sample of 100 pharmacists at the Annual Meeting of Bosnia and Herzegovina Pharmacists. The results were presented as counts (%). The groups (preceptors and non-preceptors) were compared using Mann-Whitney U test, paired assessments were analyzed by Wilcoxon signed-rank test and Spearman’s correlation was used to assess the correlation between variables. Results: Of the 100 pharmacists invited to participate, 84 completed the questionnaire (84 % response rate). There was no agreement between pharmacists’ real knowledge (average score - case 1: 2.71, case 2: 3.3) and their self-assessment (average score - case 1: 3.77, case 2: 3.91). There was no statistically significant difference in the actual knowledge of pharmacists (experienced/non-experienced in precepting), while the difference in the self-assessment was significant between these two groups. Conclusion: Pharmacists appear to overrate themselves, which leads to self-enhancement bias, in which the experience in precepting has some influence. Pharmacists’ capability in performing an objective self-assessment of their clinical knowledge needs to be carefully studied in the future to fully benefit patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number430
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Case scenario
  • Clinical knowledge
  • Oral and emergency contraceptives
  • Pharmacist
  • Preceptor
  • Self-assessment


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