Experiential learning a must for Bachelor of Pharmacy students
Regulation 8 of the Regulations relating to the practice of pharmacy published in terms of the Pharmacy Act, 53 of 1974, as amended, states:
- A pharmacy student may, for purposes of education and training, and under the auspices of a provider approved to offer education and training for a qualification in pharmacy and with whom such student is enrolled, provide or perform all of the services or acts pertaining to the scope of practice of a pharmacist under the direct personal supervision of a pharmacist.
- The services or acts referred to in sub-regulation 8 (1) must be provided or performed in accordance with a programme developed by the provider and approved by Council.
Point two under the notes of the qualification that is registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), ID 65130, states: “The respective assessment criteria aim to test the achievement of the specific learning outcomes. As many of these criteria are practice based, providers are required to include structured experiential learning periods in their curricula and should clearly identify such periods. It is anticipated that the periods will aggregate at least 400 hours in the overall learning programme.”
According to the Criteria for the accreditation/approval by the South African Pharmacy Council of a curriculum leading to the awarding of a BPharm degree, section seven elaborates on criteria for compliance with requirements relating to work-integrated learning (WIL) and states that the prospective provider must provide evidence that:
- periods of structured experiential learning are included in the curriculum
- such periods aggregate a minimum of 400 hours in the overall learning programme
- such periods of structured experiential learning are conducted in accordance with Regulation 8 of the Regulations relating to the practice of pharmacy published in terms of the Pharmacy Act, 53 of 1974, as amended.
Council is not prescriptive on how the experiential learning should be organised, but every programme accredited/approved by Council should include 400 hours of experiential learning. Universities choose their own sites for experiential learning and do not need Council’s approval for the sites. Council requires a pharmacist to be present, not the approved tutor. BPharm students must be registered with Council and have professional indemnity cover as per the Rules relating to good pharmacy practice.
Good Pharmacy Education Standards (GPES) state that work-integrated learning (WIL) specifically describes an approach to career-focused education that includes classroombased and workplace-based forms of learning that are appropriate for the professional qualification. WIL must be supervised by a person who is suitably qualified and experienced in the domain in which the WIL is carried out. Persons registered as tutors with Council are suitably qualified.
In addition, GPES states:
- The university must have formal agreements with other healthcare facilities used for the purpose of WIL. Written agreements with the practice sites must be in place and must cover student placement, staff responsibilities, health services, immunisation requirements and professional conduct expectations.
- Organisational structures and administrative patterns in the university or affiliated healthcare facilities must :
- promote integrated education, research and WIL activities
- provide a working relationship between service and educational units
- provide the necessary blend of educational and patient care activities
- ensure that appropriate authority for the control and supervision of academic activities is vested in the school.
- WIL sites for BPharm students must have the following characteristics and must:
- meet or exceed all legal and professional standards required to provide patient care where applicable
- have a patient population that exhibits diversity in culture, medical conditions, gender and age where appropriate
- have an adequate patient population based on the learning objectives for the rotation where applicable
- provide access to learning and information resources
- have a commitment to the education of pharmacy students
- have management that is supportive of professional staff involvement in the education of pharmacy students
- provide a practice environment that nurtures and supports pharmacist and student interactions with patients.