Supervision of Pharmacy Students & Interns


Published: July 2014

Legislative References:
Additional References:

College Contact: Pharmacy Practice / Registration Programs


direct supervision

Supervision that is provided by a person [i.e. pharmacist] who is physically present on the premises where the practice that is being supervised is being carried out

Drug & Pharmacies Regulation Act

149. (1) “no person shall compound, dispense or sell any drug in a pharmacy other than,

(a) a pharmacist;

(b) an intern under the supervision of a pharmacist who is physically present; or

(c) a registered pharmacy student acting under the supervision of a pharmacist who is physically present; or
(d) a pharmacy technician acting under the supervision of a pharmacist who is physically present”


The requirement for supervision of students and interns by a pharmacist is outlined in the terms, conditions and limitations of their certificates of registration; and the type of supervision, direct or otherwise, is reflective of the accreditation status of the pharmacy. Accredited pharmacies require a pharmacist to be physically present where the authorized acts of compounding, dispensing and selling are occurring.

The model of graduated experiential learning leading to pharmacist registration recognizes that the degree of oversight on the student/intern’s practice is adjusted based on his or her demonstration of competence. Supervision is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and requires the active engagement of all participants to ensure a quality learning environment while maintaining best possible patient care.

The principles outlined below are provided to assist in determining the level of supervision required and to fulfill the requirements of the Act and Regulations. They will also facilitate student/intern learning through more independent practice.

  1. Supervising pharmacist(s) to assess each student/intern individually by:
    • Considering student/intern’s level of education and experience
    • Evaluating student/intern’s competence in relevant areas of practice.
  2. Supervising pharmacist(s) and student/intern to discuss and agree to:
    • Types of activities that can be performed independently
    • Extent to which these activities can be performed without the physical presence of a supervising pharmacist (off-site)
    • Exceptions:
      • Authorized acts of compounding, dispensing, selling cannot be done without a pharmacist physically present
      • Student / intern cannot practice remotely on an exclusive basis
    • Extent of communication and collaboration expected between the supervising pharmacist(s) and student/intern when engaging in various activities
    • Common understanding of expectations and consequences of independent practice
      • Supervisor takes on accountability / responsibility for student/intern’s practice by granting more independence based on their assessment
      • Student/intern takes on significant accountability / responsibility by practicing independently. Should only engage in independent practice when competent, and seek assistance from the supervising pharmacist as needed.
  3. Document & retain:
    • Details and date of the agreement as outlined in # 2 above
    • All future re-assessments that may impact level of supervision required
    • Written agreement should be shared with other individuals supervising the practice of the student/intern for acknowledgement
  4. Supervising pharmacist(s) should be clearly identified and auditable
    • Documentation should be available to readily determine who the supervising pharmacist was at any point the student/intern was engaging in independent practice