National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association and The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia Position Statement: Hospital Pharmacy Placements in Universities
Hospital Pharmacy is a desirable career pathway for a large number of pharmacy students across Australia. Exposure to this aspect of the pharmacy profession through placement is necessary for students to get a more comprehensive view of the healthcare system, leading to better-rounded graduates in the profession.
Both the National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association (NAPSA) together with the Society of Hospital Pharmacists Australia (SHPA) strongly believe that a hospital pharmacy placement is an essential component of a Pharmacy student's studies as it helps to prepare them appropriately for all aspects of a pharmacy career. In addition to this, we believe that even for those who choose not to pursue a hospital pharmacy career, the acute care setting is one of the best environments for students to learn and develop as an effective pharmacist. Exposure to this area provides greater understanding of the vast pharmacy industry and demonstrates the importance of inter-professional collaboration, which is important across all pharmacy sectors.
Data from pharmacy student representatives shows that out of the nineteen Australian universities, six of these do not have any compulsory hospital placement in their curriculum. Further to this, a large percentage of students at these universities would like to participate in a hospital placement but do not have the opportunity to do so before their intern year.
The NAPSA 2015 National Pharmacy Students Survey (NPSS) showed that over 35% of current Australian Pharmacy students believe that their preparation through university to work in a hospital pharmacy setting "needs improvement".
NAPSA recognises that some pharmacy schools already employ adequate hospital placement in their curriculum. NAPSA along with SHPA take the position that each Australian university should include, at minimum, a compulsory three week placement in an acute care setting in every student's third or fourth year of their Pharmacy degree.