THE British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) has published a report based on feedback from members who have recently been through the Oriel Pre-Registration Pharmacist Recruitment scheme.
The report, which is intended to provide insight to enable Health Education England to improve the process for future years, is based on 158 responses received from 28 Schools of Pharmacy. The key points of the report were:
- Applicants felt that communication between themselves and Oriel could have been improved. A greater and earlier dissemination of information would have allowed applicants to prepare better, and alleviated a lot of concern. The handbook was well received, but it would have been beneficial if this was released earlier.
- Timescales for the process were delayed compared to previous application systems and this caused more concern for students.
- Whilst some students found the assessment centre locations accessible, a significant proportion did not, and many applicants described a lack of local amenities around the assessment centre. The organisation of some assessment days were a concern to applicants and in some instances applicants had to prompt staff to run to time.
- Many applicants didn’t manage to secure their preferred location due to demand, and issues with the booking system.
- Many applicants felt that the interview questions favoured students with little experience and wrongly gave no advantage to those who have endeavoured to balance placements, work or other commitments with university.
- Applicants felt that although previous work history was requested it wasn’t used in the scoring process, and so filling it in on the application was of little benefit to them.
- Applicants found the length of the situational judgment test (SJT) excessive, and many were pushed for time in the numeracy exam.
BPSA recommendations include:
- Review communication methods and training to ensure information reaches university staff and students in a timely manner, with a consistent and correct message.
- Review timescales, communicate them and stick to them.
- Release the handbook earlier and include more screenshots of the process.
- Continue to promote definitions of the language around the process, especially preferencing.
- Consider a greater provision of assessment centres, particularly with more dates in London, Manchester/North West, and a new assessment centre in the West Midlands. Holding these selection days at Universities may help increase accessibility for students.
- Review assessment centre locations to ensure they are easily accessible for as many students as possible, and there are local amenities in the surrounding area.
- Review the online assessment centre booking process and communication.
- Improve the level of organisation at assessment centres.
- Review the questions in Multiple Mini Interviews to ensure they explore the experiences and personality of an individual.
- Review the length and timing of the numeracy exam and the SJT to ensure candidates are tested thoroughly, but fairly.