Objective. The objective of this qualitative study was twofold; to (a) determine pharmacy students’
experiences of stress as part of the current pharmacy degree, and (b) explore the potential of
incorporating the principles of mindfulness into course work in the undergraduate degree.
Methods. Undergraduate pharmacy students from the five Schools of Pharmacy (SOPs) in Ireland
were invited to take part in focus groups (FGs) between February and November 2016. Recruitment
occurred via emails, sent by gatekeepers within each of the pharmacy schools. FGs were audio
recorded, anonymized and transcribed by the researcher (MOD). Transcripts were analysed using the
Braun and Clarke method of thematic analysis, and coded in QSR International NVivo Qualitative
Data Analysis Software Version 11. Ethical approval was obtained
Results. Twenty pharmacy students (60% female) representing all years of study from three of the
five SOPs participated across five focus groups. The five key themes that emerged were (1) so much
to do, so little time (2) the role of lecturers (3) we’re smart people, we want to do well (4) learning by
doing and (5) mindfulness as a coping tool.