Developing Education & Practice Supervision

Education 1

The governance of education and training standards in the pharmacy profession is becoming more robust. The “Taking the Time” report reviewed the impact of the European Working Time Directive on the training of health professions covered by Medical Education England – although their findings were most relevant to medicine, the principles can equally be applied to pharmacy and dentistry. The report stated that high supervision and limited access to training and specifically emphasises the need for all trainers to be trained, accredited and supported as well as having their roles recognised and rewarded.

The purpose of the Developing Educational and Practice Supervisors (DEPS) programme is to create an accreditation and QA framework for all pharmacy practitioners involved in facilitating and supervising learning in the workplace. The DEPS framework allows this quality assurance to be extended into the training placements throughout the pharmacy profession.


The first output of the Developing Educational & Practice Supervisors group was to rationalise all terms within pharmacy education by adopting the following roles

  • Practice Supervisor
  • Educational Supervisor
  • Educational Programme Director
The complete frameworks are available to download below

Developing Educational & Practice Supervisors Frameworks Definitions

A “Practice supervisor” in pharmacy is someone who is selected, appropriately trained and responsible for overseeing a specified trainee’s work and providing developmental feedback during a period of training. This role requires appropriate assessment skills.  Practice supervisors will support learners to identify opportunities for learning in the workplace and provide supervision of trainees on a day-to- day basis, identifying trainees in difficulty. Practice supervisors are involved in and contribute to a work-based learning culture.
An “Educational supervisor” in pharmacy is someone who is selected and appropriately trained to be responsible for the overall supervision and management of a specified trainee’s educational progress during a period of training placement or series of placements. The educational supervisor is responsible for the trainee’s Educational Agreement. This will include formal assessment and sign off.  The educational supervisor should have an understanding of the range of learning, assessment and support opportunities for learning in the workplace, work collaboratively with colleagues to monitor and support learner's progression and foster learner autonomy. They should also able to identify and support trainees in difficulty, including interfacing with employment performance management procedures.
An ‘Educational supervisor’ role involves overall supervision and management of a specified trainee’s educational progress during a programme (or series of periods of training), as opposed to a single period of training.
An “Educational programme director” in pharmacy (EPD) oversees one or more entire training programmes locally, regionally, or both, developing and implementing programmes together with external bodies and local teams. An individual may be the EPD for more than one programme.  The EPD ensures that quality criteria are met, including resource, appropriately trained supervisors, possibly selection of candidates, monitoring of progress and equal opportunities.  We recommend that consideration be given to the EPD being a member of the local Senior Pharmacy team where appropriate. 
A specialist Education and Training practitioner employed by an organisation may act as the overarching co-ordinator for all of these (much like a Director of Medical Education ‘DME’ in medicine)