Experiential learning in MPharm programmes: a survey of UK universities

Sabrina Anne Jacob, Anne Boyter

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: The General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) Standards for the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacists has stressed the importance of experiential learning (EL) in the MPharm, with stipulations that EL should increase year on year, and that tutors receive the necessary support (General Pharmaceutical Council, 2011). Aims: To determine how universities in the United Kingdom currently structure their EL in the MPharm, and assess how the standards specified by the GPhC are met. Method: Staff in charge of EL in MPharm programmes were surveyed, using a 31-item on- line questionnaire, which consisted of open and close-ended questions. Variables of interest were administration and structure of the EL, tutor issues, and placement sites. To rank the challenges faced, the Relative Importance Index (RII) was calculated (Jarkas and Bitar, 2012). Results: Twenty (66.7%) universities responded. EL coordinators were mostly academic/teaching fellows (19), and spent 0.29 ± 0.31 Full Time Equivalent on coordination. In 53.8% of universities, tutors completed training annually, with topics primarily focusing on placement structure (85.7%) and requirements (78.6%). Total placement hours in all practice sites over the four years of study ranged from 54 to 496 hours, mainly in hospital and community pharmacy, but also hospices, prisons, and nursing homes. RII calculation revealed the three biggest challenges faced were obtaining/retaining hospital placements (81.82), financial support (80) and quality assurance of tutors (60). Conclusion: While there has been an increase in the variety of placement sites and EL hours since the last survey in 2003 (Wilson et al., 2006), universities still face the challenges of obtaining placement sites and financial support. There are also gaps in tutor training and development. More standardisation and regulation with regard to the quality assurance of the programme, placement sites, and tutors is needed to ensure students obtain the most out of their placements.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2019
EventPharmacy Education Conference - University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Jun 201924 Jun 2019


ConferencePharmacy Education Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • MPharm
  • experiential learning
  • UK
  • university


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