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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

An evaluation of a general practice placement for undergraduate pharmacy students

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Donovan, Gemma, Hardisty, Jessica, Brown, Andrew and Armstrong, Catherine (2016) An evaluation of a general practice placement for undergraduate pharmacy students. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 24 (S3). p. 21. ISSN 2042-7174

Item Type: Article


Focal Points:
• This evaluation aimed to discover if a revised undergraduate pharmacy placement in general practice improved student’ perception of their learning
• Following improvements, this evaluation has shown a positive impact on student perceptions of this experience
• A placement in general practice has been successful in teaching students about the roles of other healthcare professionals in primary care and the structure of general practice

The NHS England Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice programme1 has brought much attention to the potential role of pharmacists in general practice. Today’s undergraduate pharmacy students will begin their clinical careers at a time when opportunities to work closely with GPs or within GP surgeries are established and expanding. The skills required to take on these roles are needed within the NHS workforce and pharmacy educators must respond to this. Here, a placement in a GP surgery has been designed and delivered to Level 3 pharmacy undergraduates.

GP placements were introduced in the 2014/15 academic year. A questionnaire to evaluate these was designed based on the learning objectives of the placement. The questionnaire was distributed to all students at the end of each placement for self-completion. Most questions asked students to rate their agreement to statements about their experience using a five-point Likert scale from ‘Strongly disagree’ to ‘Strongly agree’. Ethical approval was not required for this evaluation of placement delivery in general practices. Based on the results of this evaluation (and discussion with placement providers) some changes were made for placements being delivered in 2015/16. Changes included creation of a pro-forma to facilitate observations of clinical and practice administration staff. The complexity of a patient case for students was also increased and directly facilitated by the practice pharmacist, rather than self-navigation. The questionnaire was re-distributed to determine the impact of these changes.

For placements delivered in 2014/15, 175 completed surveys were returned (82% response rate). Data collected in 2015/16 for placements delivered to date (abstract submitted before academic year end) are 82 responses (response rate 91%). There was a general increase in positive responses from students about their experiences on placement. The greatest difference was seen for the statement ‘I increased my knowledge and understanding of therapeutics’ where 86% of students rated ‘Agree’ or ‘Strongly agree’ in 2014/15, increasing to 96% in 2015/16. There was an increase in students agreeing/strongly agreeing to ‘What I have learnt will be useful in my future practice as a pharmacist’ (89% in 2014/15 vs 99% in 2015/16) and ‘I felt well prepared for the placement after completing the tasks provided in the professional portfolio’, with an increase in those agreeing/strongly agreeing of 12%. Smaller increases were also seen for the statements ‘The placement was relevant to my study at university’ (7%), ‘I was able to understand the content of the placement’ (4%), ‘The placement helped me understand how the roles of other healthcare professionals contribute to patient care’ (6%) and ‘I increased my knowledge and understanding of general practice’ (6%).

This evaluation indicates that the revision of the placements has had a positive impact on students’ perceptions of their experience. The reviewed case study may have contributed to the increased agreement to the statement surrounding increased knowledge of therapeutics. It is encouraging that responses for other learning objectives around increasing awareness of general practice and the roles of other healthcare professionals have also increased as a result of the changes. The pro-forma created also seems to have been effective in increasing the students’ preparedness for the placement. It remains to be seen if the trends described continue as responses are continued to be collected.

1. NHS England. Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice Pilot. Available from: (Accessed 05 April 2016)

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Depositing User: Gemma Donovan


Item ID: 7251
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ISSN: 2042-7174
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Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 09:26
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 15:40


Author: Gemma Donovan
Author: Jessica Hardisty
Author: Andrew Brown
Author: Catherine Armstrong

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Sciences > Pharmacy and Pharmacology

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