Introduction: The Pharmacy Education and Accreditation Reviews (PEARs) Project was commissioned in 2008 by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) to review both the five-year programme of pharmacy education and training and the process of undergraduate course accreditation. This abstract describes the views of university staff and students on clinical placement education.
Materials & Methods Design: Review of school (n = 3) documentation;qualitative interviews (n = 7) with key school staff (n = 8);self-completion questionnaire surveys of all undergraduate students(response rate 84.5%; n = 584/691) and pharmacy school staff(response rate 59.8%; n = 49/82). Setting: Irish schools of pharmacy.
Main outcome measures: Views of staff and students on clinical placement activity.
Results Documentary review indicated that the curriculum time spent on placement activity was small (29–104 h across four years); with staff indicating infrastructure and funding issues limiting further activity. A large majority of students with experience of placements (79%, n = 436/554) indicated their professional placement(s) (term time and vacational) were a very good or good learning experience (78%, n = 339/436). Most placements were in community pharmacy, with less than 10% of students in any year having hospital placement experience. Most students (96%, n = 556/580) and a majority of staff(66%, n = 29/44) stated that placement education should be compulsory in at least one year of study. Over three-quarters of staff respondents strongly agreed or agreed that placements provide a meaningful experience of the workplace (92%, n = 22/24), provide an opportunity for the development of professional behaviour and values (92%, n = 22/24) and provide an opportunity for the application of knowledge (79%, n = 19/24).
Discussions, Conclusion Experience in the workplace is essential to contextualise learning and develop the skills, knowledge and values that determine professional competence. Although valued by students and staff, at the time of this study clinical placement education Ireland was limited. Therefore, PEARs recommended that the 4 + 1 model of pharmacy education to registration should be replaced by a five-year fully integrated programme of education, training and assessment,and that there should be a national body to co-ordinate placement activity.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared