Pharmacists in Scotland - five-year integrated education programme: scoping report

Report on the integration of the existing four-year pharmacist degree and one-year training scheme into a single five-year programme.

Meeting with staff and students - Robert Gordon University

Staff and students were presented with an overview of the key issues and options for change and were invited to consider these as well as the questions arising from the Stakeholder Event.

  • Students

The main issue for the students was being in a position to complete the five years on merit without the risk of being unable to secure a pre-registration post . They thought the consequent reduction in stress levels was very important. The students wanted the assurance that they would complete the five years if they merited it academically.

The affordability or cost of the model to the students was the other issue and whether they could afford it. Concerns expressed included: if salaries were reduced would there be a guarantee of more training places; would students be able to support themselves during the five-year programme, particularly if there were more experiential learning placements; geographical issues including accommodation and travel costs if experiential learning was not in the vicinity of home or university.

The students saw benefits with respect to both proposed models however their consensus was a preference for the five-year integrated degree, especially from the international students . There was also support for experiential learning to be dispersed throughout the programme, although they wanted it 'weighted' towards the end of the programme so that students had the knowledge base to make the most of them. There was discussion and agreement on the benefits of following up lecture material with experiential learning in practice providing an opportunity to apply the learning in practice. There was some concern expressed, however, about assessments of the student being made too early in the course if the experiential placements included an assessment process.

There was widespread support for increasing IPL in the programme as long as it was done properly i.e. a practical exercise (like a simulation lab, working with other professions) not simply being lectured to with other professional groups.

Students saw interviews as an important element of selection.

  • Staff

Overall the staff view was that with the increasingly elderly population, multi-morbidities and polypharmacy implications, alongside the need to provide services to both urban and rural populations there had never been a greater opportunity for pharmacists to play a role, for example the latest commitment to ensure every GP practice has access to a pharmacist input. There was re-assurance on the continued recognition of the value in the integration of science and practice : it was important not to lose sight of the linkage and not too squeeze the science. The integration allowed the focus to move to applied science . One participant summed things up in saying that given the levels of student dissatisfaction with the current system then this was the right time to review things and being able to expose them to mixed environments was a positive development.


Email: Elaine Muirhead

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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