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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.

Experiential Learning in 2024-25

University teams are now matching student pharmacists in their second to fourth years of study to EL placements for the 2024-25 academic year.

NES will be in touch with training providers week commencing 24th June 2024, to advise which placements have been selected for use at this initial stage. We will ask training providers to confirm details of the pharmacist who will be EL facilitator for each matched placement at least 8-weeks before the placement commences. NES will contact any named facilitators to ask them to commit to undertaking PFEL training (described below) if they have not completed this training in the past.

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 [DOCX] 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 must receive written feedback, which is reviewed by the University EL Teams and discussed with student pharmacists after the EL.

Please 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 – any serious concerns should be raised with immediately with the relevant contact listed in the ‘University EL Teams’ section below.

Why is feedback 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. Student pharmacists also require written feedback to complete post EL tasks at university. Your written feedback supports their reflective writing, which is required for assessment of the EL component of the MPharm

How do I provide the written feedback?

You will provide feedback for student pharmacists from both universities either via Turas Training Portfolio or Questback..

  • New for 2023-24: All student pharmacists from Robert Gordon University will request feedback via Turas Training Portfolio. You will be required to share the email address linked to your Turas account with them, and the student pharmacist will generate a feedback request.
  • New for 2023-24: Year 3 and Year 4 student pharmacists from the University of Strathclyde will also request feedback via Turas Training Portfolio, as described above.

Further information is available in this Guide to providing student feedback via Turas Training Portfolio [PDF].

  • Feedback for Year 5 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.

Facilitator support tools

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

Experiential Learning Frameworks

These documents provide an overview of defined tasks that student pharmacists could carry out under supervision to meet specified University Learning Outcomes for EL Placements within different practice settings. They demonstrate how tasks build in complexity throughout the years and support planning of activities to allow student pharmacists to demonstrate learning outcomes and GPhC Professional Standards during their experiential learning.

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 - 07734773394)

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)

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.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email

Last updated: Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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