South African pharmacy student perspectives of a hospital-based experiential learning programme

Jane McCartney, Shirley-Anne Boschmans


Context: As pharmacy educators introduce or extend hospital-based experiential learning programmes (ELPs), an insight into the student experience can inform the future design and planning of ELPs.

Aim: To describe and explore the lived experiences of final year pharmacy students participating in a hospital-based ELP in South Africa.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive research design was utilised, with data obtained from four focus groups over two consecutive academic years. Data collection occurred prior to, and on completion of the ELP using a non-probability purposive sampling technique.

Results: The emergent themes were: the clinical environment; integration and application of knowledge; inter- professional relationships and professional identity; and self-perceived level of preparedness. The expectations of the students prior to commencing the hospital-based ELP were realistic and positive, but the lived student experiences highlighted several areas of concern.

Conclusions: While the overall educational experience of the ELP was positive, areas requiring intervention were identified. 


Clinical Training, Experiential Learning, Focus Groups, Pharmacy Education, Qualitative Research

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