News and Comment

New research explores the experience of Black-African pharmacy candidates

Thursday 21 July 2016

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The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has just published our report into the experiences and performances of Black-African candidates in the Registration Assessment. For this work we held depth, qualitative interviews and focus groups with Black-African trainees and recently registered pharmacists and interviews with people who are involved in pharmacist education and training. The sample covered a diversity of education and training experiences and demographic characteristics, but included only those who completed an MPharm degree.

Exploring the experiences of a wide range of students, the research points to a complex interplay of factors that influence the experience and performance of Black-African students during their pharmacist education and training pathway. While it is important to note that many Black African students are very successful in their education and training, the research sheds light on some issues that can be specific to students from Black-African backgrounds. This included: the challenges associated with undertaking the training and assessment as a mature student and of being an overseas student; and the challenges associated with being a small minority in one’s school of pharmacy and consequently struggling to form study groups and supportive peer networks. The research also unearthed some examples of explicit prejudice towards and perceptions of implicit bias against Black-African students particularly where they had undertaken their secondary education overseas. Related to this was a perceived lack of Black-African role models within the pharmacist education and training pathway to guide, inspire and motivate students of a similar background.

The research concludes by suggesting some actions which may help improve the experience and performance of some Black-African trainees and at the same time offer benefits to all pharmacy students and trainees, and ultimately to the pharmacy profession.

The GPhC will hold a seminar in October 2016 to bring together those with a role in pharmacy education and training to discuss its findings, and to consider the actions that may be needed to address the issues raised in the report. A copy of the report can be found here.