A third of undergraduate pharmacy students who answered a survey after taking part in an experiential learning pilot programme in Scotland said they had not had any contact with patients during their placement.
The experiential learning pilot, offered through Robert Gordon University, the University of Strathclyde and NHS Education for Scotland, enabled 60 undergraduate pharmacy students to undertake work experience across 41 sites, including community pharmacies, hospitals, GP surgeries and NHS 24.
A report on the pilot, published by NHS Education for Scotland, said that of 43 students surveyed about their experience, 28 said that the placement had helped develop their clinical skills and 31 said that their communication skills had improved.
However, 13 (33.3%) of respondents said that they had not had any contact with patients during their placement, the report said, and some participants had “criticised the lack of hands-on experience, with students observing or shadowing, rather than undertaking tasks”.
The analysis also interviewed 15 facilitators who were “extremely positive about the pilot” and “unanimous in their willingness to host future” experiential learning, the report said.
The report recommends that stakeholders develop quality assurance processes for sites hosting students for experiential learning, “to include the extent to which students are permitted to have hands-on experience”.