Structured experiential learning placement for pharmacy undergraduate students – a pilot study
Integration of a pharmacist role into the United Kingdom core healthcare services became better recognized in recent years. The General Pharmacy Council is modernizing pharmacy education through the introduction of the foundation year, replacing the pre-registration year, moving to five-year from a four-year degree, and proposed hands-on undergraduate placements across the five years. Experiential learning placements (ELP) are not a component of the current pharmacy education. ELP was designed as a pilot, to explore the logistics and sustainability of this initiative. While the sample was small (n=6), the students who attended demonstrated good academic performance in exams and practical assessments. Students and supervisors were provided with structured activities, a workbook guide, and students' pre-placement training. The pre-placement taught topics were; counter medications counseling, measuring blood pressure, selling devices such as thermometers, receiving prescriptions from patients, and stock and waste management. The community pharmacists appreciated the structured activities and workbook; and having the freedom to allocate other activities to the students during the placement period. The low uptake by students during the pilot, was due to their preference to take paid jobs rather than unpaid placement, combined with the unwillingness of community pharmacists to provide unremunerated ongoing participation.
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