How will I secure a placement?

APPEL will match all eligible students to a 4th-year placement in an APPEL-accredited Training Establishment. The matching process will allow students to indicate 4 preferences for practice placements based on (i) geographical location(s) and (ii) preferred practice setting, e.g. pharmaceutical industry, hospital etc. Based on these preferences, students will then be provided with a choice of up to 15 placement providers. Students will select their top 8 and their CV will be forwarded to these. The placement providers will then select student(s) for their practice placement from this cohort. This process takes place during Semester 2 of each year and the exact timelines will be communicated to students well in advance.

Who is responsible for the quality of my placement?

APPEL is responsible for quality assuring the placements. This involves robust processes and procedures for selecting, assessing, accrediting and appointing preceptors and Training Establishments. All Preceptors will be trained by APPEL and there will be support structures in place for students and Preceptors during the placement.

What will I be doing during this 4th-year experiential learning placement?

An important part of experiential learning is to help you develop the various competencies required for pharmacy practice. During the 4th-year placement, you will complete three online modules, which will support you to develop competencies relating to self-management, workplace management, human resources, financial management, quality assurance, leadership, change management, critical thinking, decision making, team working, communication and legal and ethical issues.

Placement providers will also present you with experiential activities to complete during your placement. These activities will vary depending on the placement organisation and could include a project, experience in multiple departments, etc. The activities will support you in developing the competencies above. APPEL will provide guidance on experiential learning activities to Training Establishments.

When will I attend my placement?

The placement will take place from September to December. Students will be provided with an attendance timetable well in advance of their placements. Placements are 30 hours per week. These hours must be completed between 8am and 6pm on weekdays. The exact start and finish time each day can be agreed upon between the student and Preceptor.

Students must be given at least a half-day (no less than four hours) per week for their academic work. This can be on any week day.

What is the 4th-year placement?

The 4th-year placement is a four-month placement completed from September to December in an APPEL-accredited Training Establishment. These placements can be undertaken in a breadth of practice settings, including non-patient facing settings.

The Schools of Pharmacy are committed to developing graduates that are prepared for careers in all sectors of pharmacy practice. APPEL’s aim is to provide students with a broad range of experiential learning opportunities. These experiences will help expose and prepare students for the various roles a pharmacist can undertake. The 4th-year placement is the ideal opportunity for students to broaden their practice experience and to further develop their curriculum vitae (CV).

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.