Can a student undertake a placement in a Training Establishment or under the supervision of a Trainer, if they are a connected relative?

As per SI No. 377/2014, students cannot undertake a placement in a Training Establishment or under the supervision of a Trainer “if he or she has a connection with either the training establishment or the tutor pharmacist concerned”.

A connected relative includes spouse or partner, parent, brother, sister, child, spouse of a child, grandparent, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and parent-in-law.

What do I do if I’m asked to complete pharmacy activities not directly associated with patient care, prescriptions or other pharmacist duties?

There are many learning opportunities to be had from undertaking such activities, for example:

  • Reading Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will support you to develop your own SOPs when you are a registered pharmacist. SOPs are an integral part and a required element of all pharmacies and pharmacy departments and ensure consistency and quality across all activities undertaken. Therefore, reading and understanding SOPs is a required duty of all staff and students based on site at each pharmacy.


  • Date-checking or unpacking medicines will provide you with the skills to support your own pharmacy team to undertake stock management when you enter practice. It’s also an opportunity to learn about medicines’ storage, develop familiarity with medicines and start to spot SALADs (sound-alike, look-alike drugs). It also provides you with the opportunity to take note of and document the many drugs you may not be familiar with at this stage in your course, and to make notes to learn further about these at a later/appropriate time from your Supervisor and the references available to you.

Managing patient returns provides insight into adherence with medicines.

Is my Supervisor supposed to be teaching me at all times?

Experiential learning is designed to expose students to real-life practice, and so it is not desirable, nor feasible, for your supervisor to be actively teaching you at all times. All APPEL Supervisors are volunteers, who are generously giving their time and expertise to help support you with your development.  Supervisors are committed to teaching you, but this will be undertaken within the context of a busy working environment. Therefore, your learning will be achieved through doing, observing and through active engagement with your Supervisor and other pharmacy team members.

How does APPEL prepare my Supervisor?

All Supervisors need to sign a Trainer agreement, that outlines the responsibilities of the Supervisor in relation to student placement. They are also required to complete APPEL training. This can be completed at live training event or online.

Supervisors are provided with an APPEL Supervisor Handbook; copies of the Supervisor Handbook can be found in our Resources section.

The APPEL team and Practice Educators are also available to Supervisors to answer any queries they may have.

How will I manage relationships within the workplace?

If you make an effort to always act in a professional, friendly and helpful manner, you should get along well with staff, patients and customers. Discuss with your Supervisor or contact your Practice Educator if you have any questions or concerns.

How should I engage with customers/patients?

You should take direction from your Supervisor regarding all interactions with customers/patients. Be respectful, courteous and empathetic at all times. Take care not to treat patients as “case studies”. If a patient does not want to engage with you or feels uncomfortable continuing to engage with you, then you should respect their feelings and ensure that the pharmacist can follow-up with the patient.

How do I communicate what I know?

Answer questions put to you by the pharmacy staff as best you can, but don’t pretend to know more than you do. The Training Establishment will be briefed that you are at an early stage in your training. APPEL will also provide some high-level information to the Training Establishment regarding what areas your coursework has covered, and therefore your Supervisor will be aware of what stage you are at in your pharmacy course.