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

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
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2021


  • pharmacists
  • clinical knowledge
  • self-assessment
  • case scenarios
  • oral and emergency contraceptives
  • preceptors
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina


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