Objectives: To determine the current structure of experiential learning (EL) in Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) programmes in UK universities, and assess how they meet the standards specified by the General Pharmaceutical Council. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of staff in charge of EL in MPharm programmes was conducted, utilizing a 31-item on-line survey, consisting of both open and close-ended questions. Variables of interest were administrative aspects and structure of the EL component, tutor issues, and placement sites. To pinpoint the challenges faced with EL, the Relative Importance Index (RII) was calculated. Key findings: Twenty (66.7%) universities responded. EL coordinators were mostly academic/teaching fellows (19), and spent 0.29 ± 0.31 Full Time Equivalents on coordination. Tutors completed training annually in 53.8% of universities, with topics 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, and included hospitals, community pharmacies, hospices, prisons, and nursing homes. The three biggest challenges faced with regard to EL were in obtaining/retaining hospital placements (1st), financial support (2nd), and quality assurance of tutors (3rd). Conclusions: While there has been an increase in the variety of placement sites and hours since the last survey in 2003, universities face challenges in terms of staffing and obtaining placement sites. There are also gaps in tutor training. More standardization and regulation of the quality assurance of the EL programme, placement sites, and tutors is needed to ensure students obtain the most out of their placements.
- experiential learning