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Rotations and Placements

Ngā tūranga mahi me ngā whakawhitinga mahi

The revised curriculum offers 8 weeks of experiential opportunities for our students in their 4th year. This is anticipated to occur in a variety of settings which includes community and hospital pharmacies in both metropolitan and rural environments. There are also the opportunity for students to attend non-standard experiential sites.

Our goal

To involve our students in the provision of clinical services for person-centred care. This will be achieved by a fully integrated attachment programme where students can develop a systematic approach to patient workup and patient care.

How do placements differ from rotations?

Both placements and rotations are experiential opportunities for our students. We are using the terms rotations and attachments in order to differentiate the new experiential opportunities from placements.


We define placements as an experiential learning opportunity for students which is undertaken at a specific place (or site) – which has typically been for a week at a time. We will continue to offer 1 week placements for our students in their 2nd and 3rd year of study.


We define an attachment as an experiential learning opportunity in which a student is attached to an experienced practitioner (or team) who are responsible for performing professional service (see Entrustable Professional Activities). In this setting the student is attached to the practitioner for the duration of the service provision but not for other periods of time. This is our predominant experiential learning approach for the student’s 4th year of study.


We use the term rotation to describe a collection of attachments. In this way a small group of students (e.g. 4) will rotate through a set of attachments and perform the various professional services under the direct guidance of an expert preceptor practitioner.

Where will rotations run?

We are planning for rotations to be run through regional hubs. These are locations around NZ where the University of Otago provide rotations for students from other health profession programmes – which includes the main centres and many smaller regions. Each hub will include between 1 and 6 rotations of students who will be involved in attachments in a variety of settings at each hub including community pharmacy, primary health, and secondary health.

Entrustable Professional Activities

These are often termed EPAs in the literature and by other curricula. They define a set of activities (e.g. professional services) that a student should be able to complete prior to completion of their training. In the case of pharmacy, where our students receive an additional year of training after the BPharm degree, we anticipate that our students would achieve these activities at a level that signifies their confidence and competence to perform them under direct or indirect supervision. Examples of core EPAs include: medicines reconciliation, taking a medicine history, counselling, dispensing. Some EPAs are optional, and will depend on the attachment preceptor, such as vaccination, coagulation monitoring services, medicines use review, medicines therapy assessment.

Proposed P4 programme 2020 summary

Please see attached handout for a summary of the proposed P4 placements programme for 2020:

P4 Programme Placements Presentation Handout (PDF)

Would you like to be involved?

We are keen to get your feedback on our experiential placement approach for our 4th year. The most important part of the success of any student-focused rotation programme are the preceptors and tutors.

The School is looking for expressions of interest from pharmacists who would like to be tutors (part-time positions with the School) and preceptors (expert pharmacists who would like to help our students to learn about the professional services that pharmacists offer).


Please email with expressions of interest.