Placements and experiential learning
The Reading School of Pharmacy has long-established relationships with the healthcare sector, including the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals, and Day Lewis Pharmacy. You will work with staff at the local hospital, and will gain an insight into professional practice and patient-facing activities by carrying out observational visits and placements throughout your undergraduate degree.
Our placements prepare you for the workplace, and our annual pharmacy careers fair is attended by numerous employers from the healthcare sector. The careers fair is a good source of work experience and job opportunities for you.
A student's experience of placements
"The University was very good at arranging placements every year. Each placement used knowledge we'd learnt in that year of the course, so the placements were longer each year. In first year, I had an afternoon in a community pharmacy and a hospital. In second year, I had four day-long placements and in third year, week-long placements of my choice."
See below to get a feel for where and when you'll carry out each placement. These are organised by the School, but you're free to arrange additional placements in areas of your choice, and we'll be on hand to help.
|Year and term of study||Location||Duration||Details|
|Oxford Road Community Pharmacy, Reading||1 hour||An introduction to the role of community pharmacists.|
Autumn or Spring enhancement week
|Royal Berkshire Hospital||3 hours||An introduction to hospital pharmacy. You will visit the dispensary, stores, aseptic production, clinical trials, medicines information and a hospital ward.|
Autumn and Spring term
|Royal Berkshire Hospital||2x 4 hours||Visit the hospital wards to gain experience of screening drug charts, extracting information from medical notes, performing clinical calculations, counselling patients on medication and writing a pharmaceutical care plan.|
Spring enhancement week
|Community pharmacy||1 day||Gain a better understanding of how community pharmacy contributes to patient care, and the professional skills required of pharmacists. Gain experience of using the electronic and documented systems in place for day-to-day operations in the pharmacy.|
Autumn and Spring term
|Royal Berkshire Hospital||2x 4 hours||Gain further experience on the hospital wards; talking to patients and obtaining their medication history, writing a care plan and suggesting changes in order to optimise a patient's medication regime based on evidence-based choice, patient safety and patient preference.|
|GP practice||1x 4 hours||Improve your knowledge and understanding of how a GP practice pharmacist contributes to patient care. Enables you to demonstrate an understanding of how clinics are run and how patients with long term conditions are managed.|
|Community or hospital pharmacy, or GP placement||1 week||In-depth experience of working in a community, hospital pharmacy or GP practice.|
|On-site clinical placement: Healthy living assessments||2 hours||Students undertake 11 diagnostic tests (e.g. blood pressure, body composition) on volunteer patients and give healthy living advice.|
First year placements
In your first year, you are introduced to pharmacy and clinical environments through structured visits to community and hospital pharmacies. This puts your learning into context at an early stage, beginning your preparation to become a pharmacist, and to understand the role of pharmacists within the healthcare professions and society as a whole.
Second year placements
In your second year, you will undertake further structured hospital visits alongside an independent day placement in a community pharmacy. This helps you to build knowledge and skills that you are developing and apply them to patient care in a healthcare environment.
Third year placements
In your third year, the structured hospital visits develop further and you will complete a one-week placement in either a community or hospital pharmacy, or a GP practice. You will learn alongside healthcare professionals so you are prepared for the multi-disciplinary environment of the healthcare sector, guided by the experience of our practising pharmacists and other healthcare experts.
"Excellent links with the Royal Berkshire Hospital allowed me to put my learning into practice with real-life patients. Visits to Royal Berkshire Hospital were extremely beneficial for practicing drug histories and counselling patients, experiencing what it is truly like to work as a hospital pharmacist and developing my communication skills."
Fourth year placements
In your fourth year, you will further develop your ability to promote health in individuals, through the provision of health checks and tailored lifestyle advice to individuals in a supervised environment.