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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.

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 /Service Level Agreement to participate in experiential learning. New agreements for 2022/23 will be sent to all EL providers at the start of the Academic Year.

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

Facilitators providing feedback to student pharmacists:

All student pharmacists who undertake EL should be provided with constructive verbal feedback throughout their placement to help them to recognise their own strengths and areas for development. We ask that facilitators provide clear, fair and honest feedback to the student pharmacist regularly, both during and at the end of the placement. In addition, all student pharmacists should receive written feedback, which is reviewed by the University EL Teams and discussed with student pharmacists after the EL.

Why is this important?

Your feedback will help the student pharmacist to develop and allow them to reflect on past EL experiences as they plan for future EL or as they plan to move on to Foundation Year Training. By providing this honest and constructive feedback you will support them in evaluating their skills, knowledge and behaviours as witnessed in the workplace and help them to develop these as they progress through their journey to becoming pharmacists. Although it can be difficult to provide what may be perceived as “negative feedback”, you are ideally placed to feedback on behaviours that you observe and providing this honest feedback in a suitable way could help to shape and develop the student pharmacist which could impact on their future career. It is important to provide feedback so that all student pharmacists benefit from this and none are disadvantaged by not having this opportunity. It is also important to note that the university EL Teams are always on hand if you have concerns or would like advice on how to approach a particular situation.

How do I provide the written feedback?

You will provide feedback for student pharmacists from both universities however this will take different forms.

  • Student pharmacists from Robert Gordon University will bring a Testimonial Form with them which they will ask you to complete for them by the end of the experiential learning placement. They will share this with the EL team at Robert Gordon University.
  • Feedback for student pharmacists from University of Strathclyde will be provided via an online questionnaire hosted on a website called Questback. You will be provided with a link to access this questionnaire when the student details are sent to you from the University prior to the EL occurring. NES will monitor the return of this feedback and if it has not been received one week after the end of the experiential learning, we will send a reminder and provide you with a link again. The form has been reviewed to ensure that you can provide relevant information in an efficient way.

Feedback on the National Co-ordination Process and Organisation of EL

In late November 2022, NES will send a link to an online questionnaire on Questback, providing you with the opportunity to feedback to NES and the Universities about the process of organising experiential learning so far in this current academic year. This will capture your feedback relating to the organisation, processes and communications from both Universities and NES on one feedback form.

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

Craig McDonald  (Regional Tutor: North Region (interim) NHS Highland, Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, NHS Grampian & Tayside 07384 877779 /01224 262531)

Aly BrownNicky Spalding (Regional Tutor: West Region NHS AAA, D&G, GGC, Golden Jubilee, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley - 01224 262671)

Gillian Robertson (Regional Tutor: East Region NHS Lothian, Borders & Fife - 07504 842972/0131 537 1003)

Brian Addison (MPharm Academic Stategic Lead - 01224 262534)

Craig McDonald (MPharm Placement Officer - 07384 877779 /01224 262531)

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 detailed in the EL handbook.

National coordination of experiential learning

In 2022/2023, NES Pharmacy is nationally co-ordinating all Experiential Learning (EL) for both Scottish Schools of Pharmacy. The nomination process is now closed. Student pharmacists in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th years of study have been matched to nominated placements and training providers have been notified which of their nominated placements have been selected for use..

The EL activity calendar (PDF) details all EL for 2022/2023 to help you plan for EL in your organisation. All EL will be for 5 days and is a compulsory component of the MPharm - if a student is unable to attend, they will complete their EL during the highlighted remedial weeks.

The next steps

  • If you have nominated to host student pharmacists from RGU please complete a risk assessment for your organisation
  • Please ensure that all facilitators due to host student pharmacists are aware that they have been selected to host and that they book on to PFEL training if they have not previously completed this. Further information and booking available on Turas Learn
  • Please note – nominations for first year students, Stage 1 at RGU and Year 2 at UoS, will be confirmed at a later date once registration is complete

If you have any questions regarding the nomination process, please contact us via the NES EL email

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email

Last updated: 07/09/2020

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