The NPIP programme is a one-year structured workplace-based learning programme. Pharmacy interns are supported through a one-to-one relationship with their tutor pharmacist, and a series of online modules. In addition, they participate in a week-long programme at RCSI where they are supported in developing skills essential to being a successful pharmacist, such as communication and counselling skills.
The primary aim of the NPIP is to ensure that graduates have are appropriately qualified to practice as a pharmacist and to ensure optimum standards of care for patients.
Upon completion of the NPIP programme interns are required to undertake the Professional Registration Exam (PRE) in RCSI. Success in the PRE entitles you to apply for registration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland as a pharmacist, and also provides the award of a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm).
Both the NPIP programme and the PRE are operated by RCSI on behalf of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.
NPIP programme structure
The workplace-based practice placement consists of 12 months of supervised practice either taken as:
one 12-month block in either a hospital or community practice environment (clinical)
two 6-month blocks, with a minimum of six months spent in a clinical establishment. The second six months can be spent in a variety of settings such as the pharmaceutical industry, academic setting, or regulatory environment.
This practice-based learning enables the interns to apply their knowledge and develop professional skills in a supportive, supervised environment. The educational programme delivered alongside this practice placement is designed to support learning in the training establishment and includes an orientation module to help pharmacy interns adjust to their new environment. Learning involves a case-based approach which reflects how information would be accessed, presented and used in reality.
Content can be accessed via a range of mobile devices in our virtual learning environment.
The NPIP will cease to be delivered once the integrated MPharm programme has become fully operational (expected last intake for the NPIP is 2019).
The NPIP is not listed as part of the Statutory Instrument from the Department for Education and Skills which details higher educational programmes that are eligible for maintenance grants (SI 187/2012). Registered students of the NPIP are therefore ineligible to receive a maintenance grant.
The delivery of the NPIP programme is not possible without the support of practicing pharmacists who are associated faculty and known as tutors.
Tutors supervise pharmacy interns over the course of their internship year and support them in the development of the required skills, using the Core Competency Framework and a structured appraisal system.
Registered pharmacists who are at least three years qualified with a minimum of one year of experience in their current practice area and who meet the other PSI criteria are eligible to become tutor pharmacists upon completion of the Tutor Training and Accreditation Programme (TTAP). The TTAP is designed to provide tutor pharmacists with the requisite skills and knowledge to effectively train, mentor, coach and assess their intern and meets the requirements of the PSI (Education and Training) Rules 2008.
Ongoing advice and support for tutors is available from the NPIP team. New tutors are always welcome, and training events are held annually.