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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. Organisations will be contacted by NES and asked to review and sign an agreement if there is not one already in place.

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 Training Year. 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. 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.
  • We are currently trialling Turas Portfolio for provision of feedback to a number of student pharmacists from both universities. If you are supporting a student pharmacist trialling this new method, you will receive more information before the student pharmacist attends their placement.

Facilitator support tools

The named facilitator for every student pharmacist will be sent a copy of the relevant MPharm Experiential Learning Handbook and learning outcomes by the University before the experiential learning placement. These documents are also linked below for your information. These are updated at the beginning of each academic year.

University EL Teams

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

Emma McElhinney (Regional Tutor: North Region (East and West) NHS Grampian, Tayside, Highland and Islands. Interim Regional Tutor: East Region NHS Fife - 07734773396 / 01224 263449)

Aly Brown (Regional Tutor: West Region NHS AAA, D&G, GGC, Golden Jubilee, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley. Interim Regional Tutor: East Region NHS Lothian and Borders - 07966284238)

Craig McDonald (MPharm Placement Officer. Interim Regional Tutor: East Region NHS Fife - 07384 877779 / 01224 262531)

Ranjit Barry / Elaine Youngson  (MPharm Course Leaders - 01224 262590 / 01224262537)
Nicky Spalding (MPharm Placement Administrator - 01224 262671 / 07384878174 )

Nicky Spalding (MPharm Placement Administrator - 01224 262671 / 07384878174 )

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 2023/2024, NES Pharmacy will continue to co-ordinate all Experiential Learning (EL) for both Scottish Schools of Pharmacy. The nomination process opens on 2nd March 2023, when we will be contacting all organisations who have previously been involved in experiential learning to invite nominations for the 2023/2024 academic year. We invite any organisation not previously involved in experiential learning to contact us should they wish to find out more about supporting student pharmacist experiential learning in Scotland.

The EL activity calendar (PDF) details all planned EL for 2023/2024

An important change to the structure of EL for the 2023/2024 academic year is that final year student pharmacists will now complete 2-week blocks of EL in both semester 1 and semester 2. This means that any sites you nominate for final year student pharmacist EL will be asked to support 10 days of EL across 2 consecutive weeks, if they are selected for use.

The next steps

  • If you have previously been involved in EL – look out for an email inviting your nominations for 2023/2024
  • If you have not been involved and would like to be – get in touch via to find out more
  • Submit your nominations by Wednesday 19th April 2023
  • If you are nominating a site to host student pharmacists from RGU please complete a 2023/2024 risk assessment for your organisation
  • Please ensure that all pharmacists 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 the Turas Learn PFEL page

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

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email

Last updated: 03/03/2023

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