MPharm trainers' perceptions of their training needs: a survey

Ruth McCarthy, Sabrina Anne Jacob, Anne Boyter, E. Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aim: To examine pharmacy experiential learning (EL) trainers' perceptions of their abilities as trainers, their training needs, and the resources, supports and recognition they need to fulfil their role as a trainer. The new MPharm programme incorporates EL throughout the five years of study, and with this comes an increased demand for trainers skilled in education. By determining the needs and preferences of trainers, training programmes can be tailored to their requirements to improve their skills as EL trainers and enhance the overall standard of EL placements in the MPharm programme.Background: In recent years the Irish undergraduate pharmacy programme has changed from a four-year bachelor's degree followed by a one-year internship, to an integrated five-year Masters in Pharmacy (MPharm). The new integrated MPharm programme, which began in 2015, incorporates experiential learning throughout the five years of study, with this comes an increased demand for trainers and trainers who are skilled in facilitating experiential learning placements. This research serves as a response to this change. Methods: A quantitative survey was sent to 517 pharmacy trainers. Questions assessed trainer perceptions of confidence in their abilities, the importance of various topics for future training, what resources trainers need, and preferred methods for delivering training. Open comment boxes were used for trainers to provide any additional comments. SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) was used to code variables, generate frequency tables and analyse responses. Results: The survey was disseminated to 571 trainers, a total of 71 responses were collected (12.4% response rate), of which 43 were viable for use in this study. Trainers reported high confidence in teaching roles but had lower confidence in dealing with the unmotivated student, misconduct, and conflict. Trainers deemed "Developing critical thinking skills in students" and "Providing constructive feedback to students" to be the most important topics for future training, while "Guiding students in writing their reflective logs and other learning activities, that are part of their assessment" was deemed to be the least important. Trainers deemed awards and certificates of recognition to be the least needed/desired resource. "Self-study web-based material" was the most preferred method of delivering training. Time restraints were cited as a barrier for trainers, and the question of trainers in different settings requiring different preparation was raised. Conclusion: Trainers identified areas which they believe training should cover and indicated their preferences for the resources and supports available to them, as well as how training should be delivered. This information is key to developing a practical and beneficial training programme for trainers. It can be used to further develop and expand training programmes to ensure the needs and preferences of trainers are addressed and ensure a high standard of trainers for EL placements, which will enhance the overall standard of EL placements on the MPharm. programme for students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-19
Number of pages1
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2021


  • experiential learning
  • EL training
  • EL placements


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