Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Early longitudinal community pharmacy placements: Connection, integration and engagement

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-04-14, 11:00 authored by Aisling Kerr, Fiona BolandFiona Boland, Teresa PawlikowskaTeresa Pawlikowska, Judith StrawbridgeJudith Strawbridge
Background: Longitudinal placements are defined as involving "a regular, recurrent placement in the same setting with the same supervisor over a period of time". "Continuity" is the organising principle for promoting learning through continuity of care, curriculum and supervision. Longitudinal placements are widely used in medicine, but less is known about their use in pharmacy and whether the educational principles translate to community pharmacy practice.
Objective: This study sought to explore if a longitudinal community pharmacy placement (LCPP) for Year 2 pharmacy students promoted learning through student patient-centeredness, curricular integration, and growing professional engagement.
Methods: An explanatory mixed methods study design was used. Quantitative data for the study was collected prior to and after the LCPP using a questionnaire incorporating a validated measure of professional engagement and items relating to patient-centeredness and curriculum integration. Pre and post-responses were compared using the Wilcoxon-signed rank test. To further understand the quantitative findings, semi-structured interviews were conducted with students, supervisors and practice-educators and thematically analysed through a constructivist lens.
Results: There was a 78% response rate (47/60 paired responses) to the questionnaire and 25 interviews were conducted. There was quantitative and qualitative evidence of patient connection during LCPPs, yet some students had limited opportunities to connect with people. Curriculum integration was enhanced by the longitudinal nature of the placement. There was a significant increase in the sum scores of the S-PIPE instrument indicating enhanced professional engagement. Qualitatively there was evidence that engagement was promoted through role modelling and supervision, but continuity was compromised with changing supervisors.
Conclusions: An early LCPP promotes learning by providing opportunities for curriculum integration and professional engagement. It may be worth considering as a way to enhance integration through experiential learning in curriculum design. The placement needs to be of a sufficient length to enable repeated patient interaction and ideally provide continuity of supervision for maximum benefit.





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Published Citation

Kerr A, Boland F, Pawlikowska T, Strawbridge J. Early longitudinal community pharmacy placements: Connection, integration and engagement. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2020:S1551-7411(20)31118-9

Publication Date

10 October 2020

PubMed ID



  • Health Professions Education Centre
  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
  • Data Science Centre

Research Area

  • Population Health and Health Services
  • Health Professions Education


Elsevier BV


  • Accepted Version (Postprint)