Longitudinal placements for trainee pharmacists: Learning whilst improving patient care

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Introduction: Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships (LICs) have demonstrated benefits for students' learning and development in medical education globally. The model emphasises importance with respect to continuity and time in the workplace for learners. There is a need to explore how LICs become a viable training model for learners. An amalgamative LIC model was drawn upon to inform the design of a placement for trainee pharmacists on a hospital ward. This study sought to determine the local viability of a longitudinal placement for trainee pharmacists, using communities of practice learning theory to interpret findings. 

Methods: A design-based research approach informed study design. A longitudinal placement was implemented on two hospital wards for 13 weeks. Trainees (n = 3) were interviewed four times over a 14-week period. Ward staff (n = 14) were interviewed at week 14. Interviews were transcribed verbatim. Qualitative longitudinal analysis, using the trajectory approach, was conducted using abductive analysis. The coded data were organised into a framework and subthemes were created. 

Results: Trainees acquired membership within the multi-disciplinary ward team over time. This led to an enriched learning experience and the trainee's professional development improved as they attained more responsibilities. This enabled them to make a greater contribution to patient care; more medication consultations occurred, and discharge times improved. 

Discussion: The local viability of the longitudinal placement appears to be linked to the trainee's ability to acquire membership within the ward community of practice. Membership gave trainee's access to learning opportunities, supporting their development, and they earnt the trust of staff, leading to more responsibilities for providing patient care. Further research into developing longitudinal placements that support trainee healthcare professionals to acquire membership within communities of practice is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Education
Issue number2
Early online date29 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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