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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Experiential learning for student pharmacists in Scotland

Scottish pharmacy experiential learning is funded by the Scottish Government and organised in partnership between Robert Gordon University, the University of Strathclyde, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and other pharmacy stakeholders.

NES Pharmacy supports experiential learning (EL) in Scotland by managing the financial governance of ACTp funding and providing Quality Management of EL, through training of facilitators and premises approval of training sites, on behalf of the universities.

Training providers and facilitators of experiential learning

Funding, called ‘Additional Cost of Teaching (ACT) fees’ are now available to training providers who are facilitating university arranged Student Pharmacists’ experiential learning as part of the MPharm curriculum throughout an academic year. This money is to release Facilitators to spend dedicated time supporting Student Pharmacists during experiential learning.

To be eligible to receive an ACT contribution, the Pharmacist facilitating EL (Facilitator) needs to have committed to undertaking Preparation for Facilitating Experiential Learning Training (PFEL). This is a training and preparation package and a PFEL fee is payable per Facilitator. The training will cover a variety of topics including:

  • What is involved in EL and what do you need to do in your role as Facilitator?
  • What do the Universities expect from you as a Facilitator of EL?
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Giving Feedback

Further information, useful resources and available PFEL dates can be found on our Turas Learn page.

The facilitator would also need to provide feedback on student pharmacist performance to the university at the end of EL activity.

Training providers

Every experiential learning provider needs to sign an educational agreement (EA)/Service Level Agreement (SLA) to participate in experiential learning. If you signed an EA/SLA in 2019/2020 this will cover all activity until March 2021. If you are a new training provider or unsure, please get in touch.

Experiential learning principles for training providers [DOC] are available. The aim is that every student pharmacist will receive equitable high-quality learning opportunities and support in every Experiential Learning provider across Scotland. The principles form the basis of the Quality Management Visit Process for Training Providers which will be undertaken by NES, to support the enhancement of Experiential Learning in Scotland.

Feedback requirements

As part of ACT (as detailed in the NES educational agreement), EL facilitators hosting student pharmacists will be asked to give individual feedback. During the EL week, the university named contact will be e-mailed a link to an online feedback form to allow this to happen. Failure to provide feedback may result in delay of the ACT contribution fees and will be taken into consideration when approving EL sites for student pharmacists going forward.

After each EL experience, the student pharmacist will be asked to give feedback on the EL site which will feed into the quality management processes.

Facilitator support tools

The named facilitator for every student pharmacist will be sent a copy of the relevant MPharm Experiential Learning Handbook and the associated learning outcomes by the University.

If you have any concerns or issues (including student pharmacist absence) during experiential learning please contact the relevant University.

University of Strathclyde – Key contacts

Paul Kearns (MPharm EL Co-ordinator - 0141 548 3428)

Morven McDonald (MPharm EL Co-ordinator - 0141 548 3428)

Phil Brown (MPharm EL Administrator - 0141 548 3745)

Anne Boyter (MPharm Course Director and Director of Teaching - 0141 548 4594)

Robert Gordon University – Key contacts

Laura McAuley (Regional Tutor: North Region (West) NHS Highland, Orkney, Shetland & Western Isles - 07504 838397)

Amy Arnold (Regional Tutor: North Region (East) - Interim NHS Grampian & Tayside & MPharm Placement Officer - 01224 262811)

Aly Brown (Regional Tutor: West Region NHS AAA, D&G, GGC, Golden Jubilee, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley - 07966 284238)

Gillian Robertson (Regional Tutor: East Region NHS Lothian, Borders & Fife - 07504 842972/0131 537 1450)

Brian Addison (MPharm Course Leader - 01224 262534)

Nicky Spalding (MPharm Placement Administrator - 01224 262671)

If you wish to speak to someone regarding experiential learning at Robert Gordon University, please follow the communication pathway [PDF].

National coordination of experiential learning

Thank you to experiential learning (EL) providers who are hosting student pharmacists for EL during the academic year 2020/2021.

In preparation for EL this year, Robert Gordon University and the University of Strathclyde will be working with Occupational Health partners to ensure all student pharmacists are risk assessed in relation to their individual risk of exposure to COVID-19 in advance of any planned EL. This will identify any particular adjustments the student pharmacist may require in terms of risk reduction (e.g. restriction on roles/tasks/environments due to underlying health conditions). Student pharmacists have been advised of their responsibility to keep the university updated, throughout the academic year, with any changes in their circumstances which that may impact on EL.

As host EL sites, we appreciate you may have organisation specific risk assessments that you may need to carry out with regards to hosting a student pharmacist on site and you should contact the relevant university if this applies to your organisation to discuss this matter further - Robert Gordon University; University of Strathclyde.

We want to reassure facilitators and pharmacy teams that student pharmacists will undertake COVID-19 specific training in advance of any EL so they are aware of COVID-19 related issues, for example, requirements for personal protective equipment and physical distancing, when to self-isolate, clothes laundering requirements etc. Prior to each EL activity, you will be provided with student pharmacist details and email, by the relevant University. We recommend that you get in touch with the student pharmacist in advance of planned EL to discuss any site-specific information in relation to COVID-19 to minimise risk

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there may need to be short-notice amendments to planned EL for 2020/2021, we will endeavour to keep you updated of any changes that may impact on your planned EL. If anything changes and you wish to amend or change your position, please do let us know as soon as possible.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email

Last updated: 27/09/2020

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