AHPRA updates interns, preceptors

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The Pharmacy Board has moved to reassure interns and advise preceptors of its next steps in helping them navigate placements and exams during the COVID-19 crisis

The Board has assured interns that it is set to discuss their concerns about the way in which COVID-19 could affect their internships, at its upcoming April meeting.

On 3 April, it published preliminary advice about options for ongoing supervised practice if interns cannot attend their workplaces as a result of the pandemic; and it says it recognises that there may be additional impacts such as illness and the need to self-isolate.

The Board now says it will examine options to vary the supervised practice requirements to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on interns, while continuing to support them to achieve the learning outcomes relevant to the intern year.

This includes how many supervised practice hours they will need to complete to be eligible for general registration during 2020, and any alternatives to the other requirements outlined in the Board’s Registration standard: Supervised practice arrangements.

Interns will be advised of the Board’s decisions by 30 April.

This announcement will also address arrangements for examinations scheduled to take place this year, particularly those scheduled before 30 June 2020.

“Public safety remains the primary focus of the Pharmacy Board of Australia. However, a national emergency requires pharmacists to meet extreme challenges, which Australia’s regulatory approach must accommodate,” it says on its website.

“The Board is aware that this may be an anxious time for you and that you may be looking for information to address any concerns you may have about your internship.

“As an intern, you play an important role in the pharmacy profession’s response to COVID-19 and you will make a further, significant contribution to the profession once you gain general registration.

“The Board understands that internships and examinations may be affected by the current situation and we are making these issues a priority.”

The Board also wrote to preceptors to advise them of these discussions.

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