An Exploration of How Students Learn in a Pharmacy Internship


  • Andy Wallman Department of Pharmacy, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Maria Gustavsson Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Sweden
  • Åsa Kettis Lindblad Department of Pharmacy, Uppsala University, Sweden and Planning Office, Quality and Evaluation, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Lena Ring Department of Pharmacy, Uppsala University, Sweden and AstraZeneca, AstraZeneca R&D Södertälje, Sweden


pharmacy internship, pharmacy practice experience, reflective practice, workplace learning, learning activities, semi-structured interviews


Background: The pharmacy internship introduces students to pharmacy practice. An understanding of learning processes in the internship is vital for educators in order to develop activities that support learning.
Aim: The aim was to analyse students‟ learning activities in a Swedish pharmacy internship from both students‟ and tutors‟ perspectives.
Method: Interviews with pharmacy internship students (n=17) and pharmacist tutors (n=18) were performed, followed by a qualitative analysis.
Results: The results showed that learning activities ranged from formal, organized activities to informal learning by participating in the professional community. There was a perceived lack of integration between formal and informal activities. Tutors and students acknowledged the influence of the context for learning and the importance of tutors for supporting learning.
Conclusion: Both formal and informal learning activities have to be accepted and made explicit. Integrating formal and informal learning activities, using the full continuum of possible learning activities, can enhance learning.


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Research Article