Learning from community pharmacists' initial experiences of a workplace-based training program

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To prepare community pharmacists for the provision of clinical and patient-focused services, a novel postgraduate course for community pharmacists in the United Kingdom was developed. The program incorporated personal development planning against a personal development framework, workplace mentoring, employment of work-based assessment tools, activities that encouraged increased inter-professional working, reflection, and opportunities for peer support. Objectives were to identify course components that support development, describe the effect on practice, and explore the perceived advantages and disadvantages of this model of postgraduate education.

Interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 15 community pharmacists after they had completed approximately one year of the three-year course. A topic guide covering approaches to learning, rationale for course selection, course experiences to date, and impact on practice was used. Interview recordings were thematically analyzed.

Two themes were identified. ‘Support for learning’ describes the components of the course that provided support for learning, including opportunities to learn with and from others, workplace mentoring, and facilitated access to general practitioners. ‘Outcomes of learning’ encompasses how the course was a way of effecting change within existing roles and the increase in confidence and motivation to change practice.

The model has merit in supporting community pharmacists to develop the confidence and competence required for extended clinical and patient-focused roles. While this model of learning seems to provide educational value, further research is required to determine whether the additional resources required to provide workplace mentoring, use work-based assessment tools, and encourage inter-professional working are justified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)932-939
Number of pages8
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number8
Early online date21 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Community pharmacists
  • Postgraduate education
  • Work-based assessment
  • Workplace learning
  • Workplace mentoring

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