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Student programme raises awareness of RPS resources

Student membership of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society now accounts for more than 95% of the pharmacy student population, but research carried out by the Society in 2013 showed that many students were unaware of how the RPS could support their studies. The RPS is implementing a new student training programme to encourage undergraduates to take advantage of its resources and support tools throughout their studies.

The RPS plans to roll out the student training programme nationally in the next academic year. It will be working in collaboration with academics at each school of pharmacy, asking them to select two RPS “student champions” for the programme.

Pilot scheme

In February 2014, the programme was piloted at five schools of pharmacy: Aston University, University of Bradford, University of Huddersfield, University of Nottingham and University College London. Student champions were invited to the RPS London headquarters for a day of training, which covered practical tips on using ‘Medicines, ethics and practice’, support resources, PJ Online, the RPS library, online student group and local practice forums. It also looked at their future journey as practising pharmacists, focusing on leadership skills, professional development and advancement through the RPS Faculty.

Learning shared

This training equipped the champions to disseminate the information within their pharmacy schools via presentations to fellow students in groups of 50 to 150.

Attendees were required to complete surveys, the results of which showed a 21% increase in the number of students engaging with RPS resources after the programme and 91% of students agreeing that they had gained new insight from the programme. Following attendance at the student training programme and completion of three surveys, students were each awarded a certificate, which they can add to their continuing profession development portfolios. Jane Portlock, professor of pharmacy education at UCL School of Pharmacy, said: “Our students were astounded about what was on offer; they hadn’t appreciated all of the benefits available before the training programme. This is a great initiative from the RPS and students will benefit from gaining knowledge about the resources available … when this is rolled out to other schools.”

The pilot scheme reached more than 200 students and the Society hopes to expand this with the involvement of all schools of pharmacy when the programme launches in the next academic year.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20065469

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