A new programme providing pharmacy undergraduate students with clinical placements across hospital, community and general practice settings has launched.
The Experiential Learning programme will prepare all newly registered pharmacists to have a greater role in providing clinical care to patients and the public. From 2026, they will also be able to prescribe medicines, as independent prescribers from their first day on the register.
The Department of Health commissioned the Northern Ireland Centre for Pharmacy Learning and Development (NICPLD) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) to deliver the new EL programme. Working with QUB, Ulster University (UU) and local employers, NICPLD will co-ordinate the work placements.
Up to twelve weeks of Experiential Learning will be provided to students across years 2- 4 of the Masters of Pharmacy course with multisector placements to include:
6 weeks in hospital,
3 weeks in community pharmacy and
3 weeks in general practice.
The first students in Northern Ireland to benefit from the programme have recently taken up work placements with local employers across the region.
Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Professor Cathy Harrison said: “Enabling our student pharmacists to experience more clinical practice during their studies enables them to better connect the theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to real health and social care situations. I welcome the roll-out of the Experiential Learning programme and look forward to seeing the benefits for pharmacy graduates, the HSC and ultimately for patients.
“I am certain that this programme will contribute to a more capable, effective, skilled and flexible pharmacy workforce. In turn, this will allow the HSC to respond to changing population demographics and patient need.
“Best wishes to the students completing their EL placements and my sincere thanks to the NICPLD, QUB, UU and employers across the pharmacy sector for their ongoing work to deliver the programme.”
Further details can be found at NICPLD: Experiential Learning
Notes to editors:
1. The Experiential Learning (EL) programme was developed in response to the new revised initial education and training (IET) standards for pharmacists in Northern Ireland which were jointly developed by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The new standards were published by the GPhC in January 2021 and are set out in ‘‘Standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists (January 2021)
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