Archive 2014

Official Launch of Integrated Five-Year Pharmacy Education and Training Programme

December 15, 2014

New programme to take first pharmacy students next September

Representatives from the three Schools of Pharmacy pictured with Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD, along with members of PSI Council and RegistrarThe Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD, with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the pharmacy regulator, launched a new five-year integrated Master’s degree programme in pharmacy which will enable future pharmacists to better meet the changing needs of the healthcare system in Ireland.

Leonie Clarke, PSI President, said the new programme was intended to keep pace with changing healthcare needs in Ireland and offer an improved student experience through its evidence-based and experiental-based learning approach. “The PSI is delighted to officially launch this new, integrated programme of education and training for students of pharmacy in Ireland. It represents significant progression in the way we train the pharmacists of the future to meet the evolving needs of a changing healthcare system.The revamped integrated training will mean all students will have the opportunity to gain experience in community, hospital and industrial pharmacy, offering insights into various practice settings and enhanced career opportunities. Students will also be able to undertake some of their placements abroad.”

“The new framework will facilitate a greater contribution from pharmacists to the Irish health system and promote greater access for the profession to the very successful pharmaceutical industry,” added Clarke.

In launching the programme, the Minister acknowledged the accessibility of pharmacists and the contribution pharmacy makes in the healthcare system. He welcomed the move to an integrated degree format that will bring the education and training of pharmacists more closely in line with the format of the other members of the healthcare team in medicine, nursing and allied health.

The new five-year integrated Master’s degree programme will allow for real life practice exposure throughout the five year course for pharmacy students, with the format previously a ‘4+1’ model with formal mandatory training designated only in the fifth year. The programme will see its first intake of students next September 2015, with the first graduates from the programme commencing practice in 2020.

All students will have opportunities for immersion in the three main pharmacy practice settings during their training, with a greater emphasis on industry experience in particular to enhance students’ experiences and broaden their horizons. Integration of the theoretical and practice learning opportunities will enhance the preparation of pharmacists to contribute to patient care and understand the needs of the health system by having a more rounded ‘whole system’ understanding of pharmacy practice across the diversity of settings in which pharmacy is practised, and should enhance career opportunities for students once qualified.

The now programme of education is the result of many years of consideration and effort from the regulator, the three schools delivering undergraduate education, RCSI, TCD and UCC, and the many interested stakeholders including tutor pharmacists, student representatives, and patient advocacy groups.

Educational reform has been a priority of the PSI Council since its formation in 2007. The Pharmacy Act 2007 conferred significant functions on the PSI in relation to the education and training of pharmacists, from accreditation of undergraduate pharmacy education and training, to the continuing professional development (CPD) of pharmacists post-registration.

The last decade has seen significant change for pharmacy in Ireland. The Pharmacy Act 2007 established a new regulatory environment that underpins the safe provision of pharmacy services and that has been the foundation for the expansion of pharmacy services and a more integrated role for pharmacists in our health service.

To learn more about the new programme, visit the education section of the website.

Photographed (above) at the official launch of the integrated five-year programme in PSI House were representatives of the three Schools of Pharmacy in Ireland with the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar T.D., along with members of PSI Council and Registrar Marita Kinsella.

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