Pharmacy Education and Training in Ireland. The PHARMINE survey of European higher education institutions delivering pharmacy education & training - Ireland, 2010.
Pharmacy education is provided for in Ireland by three Higher Education Institutions; The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University of Dublin, Trinity College (TCD), and University College Cork (UCC). TCD was the sole provider of the undergraduate programme from 1977 until 2002 when the School of Pharmacy RCSI opened. The Schools educate approximately 150 students per annum. Applications to study pharmacy are far in excess of the places available as demand is high, and the profession is therefore fortunate to attract students of high calibre.
There have been a number of recent developments which have transformed the landscape of pharmacye ducation and training in Ireland. The Bologna declaration, for instance, prompted curriculum reform in the Schools with RCSI completely reforming in 2005 to be fully compliant.
One of the main drivers for development has been the Pharmacy Act 2007, which conferred responsibility ont he Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the pharmacy regulator, for overseeing education, training and lifelong learning in pharmacy.
The PSI recently commissioned The Review of Pharmacy Education and Accreditation (PEARs) Project, a Review of International CPD Models, a review of competency frameworks and a baseline survey of standards in practice. These are intended to inform undergraduate curriculum development and a strategy for lifelong learning. The primary recommendation of the PEARs report(http://www.pharmaceuticalsociety.ie/Education/upload/File/Accreditation/PEARs_Project_Report.pdf) is that “the current 4+1 model of pharmacy education to first registration should be replaced by a five year fully integrated programme of education, training and assessment as the basis for application for registration as a pharmacist.” This report will instigate major curriculum reform in the Higher Education Institutions imminently.
The Review of International CPD Models(http://www.pharmaceuticalsociety.ie/News/upload/File/Publications/PSI_International_Review_of CPD_Models.pdf ) set forth a vision for continuing professional development provision that will be implemented by 2014, as mandated by the Pharmacy Act 2007.
The PSI also prioritised reform of the pre‐registration year – the year of training between the undergraduatep rogramme and registration. The National Pharmacy Internship Programme, a globally unique programme, was developed on behalf of the PSI by the School of Pharmacy of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Successful completion of the programme results in the award of a Masters of Pharmacy (M.Pharm) and entitlement to apply for registration as a pharmacist in Ireland and for subsequent free movement within the EU/EEA under the Professional Qualification Directive (2005/36/EC). The programme is a 12 month, full‐time, blended‐learning programme, attracting 90 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits on completion. The basis for the curriculum is a competency framework that describes the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of a newly registered pharmacist, consistent with international norms.
It is envisaged that improvements in the education and training of pharmacists will allow for significante enhancements to be made to the delivery of pharmacy services that capable of being benchmarked against the best internationally.