The influence of learning environment on trainee pharmacy technicians' education and training experiences

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In Great Britain (GB), pharmacy technicians (PTs) are registered professionals, with their education and training regulated; little is known about this or the learning environment in which it takes place.


This study aimed to profile recently registered pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians (PTPT) in GB and capture views on PTPTs' training experiences, focussing on differences in community and hospital settings.


A mixed methods study was conducted in 2013–14, following university ethics approval. One-to-one, semi-structured telephone interviews with face-to-face and distance education providers, and hospital and community pharmacy employers of PTPTs explored views on education delivery, work-based learning, and assessment. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, analysed thematically and findings informed design of a census survey of all 1457 recently registered PTs, investigating satisfaction with various aspects of their training. Quantitative data were analysed using SPSS v20, employing comparative statistics (Mann-Whitney U, Chi-Square).


Six-hundred and forty-six questionnaires were returned (response rate 44.3%), 632 were usable. Three-quarters (75.9%) of respondents had trained in community; the majority (88.0%) were female, the average age was 35.26 ± 10.22. Those based in hospitals were more satisfied with their training: hospital trainees worked in larger teams and tended to be better supported, they had more study time, and were more likely to complete their training in the intended two-year period. Interviews with staff in 17 Further Education colleges, 6 distance providers, 16 community pharmacies and 15 NHS organisations confirmed survey findings and offered explanations into why differences in training experiences may exist.


This study has identified differences between PTPTs' work-based experiences in hospital and community pharmacy. Perceiving PTPTs as ‘apprentices’ vs. ‘employees’ may define how their training is managed by employers. Clarity in PTs' roles, responsibilities, and expected competencies upon registration can ensure training is structured and delivered in a suitable and equitable manner across sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1026
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Early online date16 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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