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Just the tonic for UCLan pharmacy students

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General Pharmaceutical Council observes shining example of student – patient interaction and inter-professional learning

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) School of Pharmacy has welcomed the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to highlight its work with real-life patients as part of student training.

The visit from the pharmacy regulator for Great Britain wasn’t part of the accreditation process, but was instead to give GPhC Council members the opportunity to learn about how pharmacy students at UCLan are given a wide range of opportunities to gain practical experience of working with patients, carers and other healthcare professionals during their degree.

UCLan students are able to do this through the University’s Comensus group, which brings service users, carers and the wider community to work closely with students from a variety of courses. The initiative has been developed to embed service user and carer voices within health and social care practice and through this UCLan’s pharmacy students can work directly with real patients as part of their training.

Professor Colin Davidson, Acting Head of the School of Pharmacy, commented: “We are very lucky to be able to work so closely with Comensus and access genuine patients who are happy to work with our students throughout their studies.  Our patient and professional engagement is something we are very proud of as it really helps students to learn how to work in a professional environment and importantly, how to deliver patient-centred compassionate care.  We’re delighted to welcome the GPhC to the University to hold ourselves up as a shining example in this area.”

The GPhC is currently reviewing the standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists across Great Britain and the insights gained during the visit will help Council members to understand how patient and public engagement and inter-professional learning can be successfully integrated into a course.

Working with real patients and taking part in events such as the Inter-Professional Education Chaos day really helps to bring our lectures to life. Going into the profession, I have a greater understanding of patient needs and the ways to approach people

During their visit, members of the GPhC Council, including the Chair of the Council Nigel Clarke, had the opportunity to speak to staff from the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and also visit the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. The GPhC also met expert patients who are part of the Comensus group and observed an Inter-Professional Education ‘Chaos’ day with final year and pre-registration pharmacy students from UCLan and fifth year medical students from the University of Manchester.  Working in collaboration with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, this involves working together in a mock-clinic setting and assisting patients as unexpected scenarios develop throughout the day.

Nigel Clarke said: “It was a real pleasure to meet all of the students, patients and staff during our visit to the School of Pharmacy.

“It was particularly useful to see the students having a range of opportunities to learn in a multi-professional environment and directly with patients, as these are key themes we are exploring during our current review of the standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists.”

Final year pharmacy student Amirah Hussain added: “Working with real patients and taking part in events such as the Inter-Professional Education Chaos day really helps to bring our lectures to life.  Going into the profession, I have a greater understanding of patient needs and the ways to approach people.”

Professor StJohn Crean, UCLan Pro Vice-Chancellor (Clinical), said: “Under an emergent ‘One Health’ strategy we strive to give all our developing health professional students an authentic real-world exposure.  I’m pleased the GPhC team were able to enjoy a taste of that special student experience that we provide at UCLan.”

UCLan’s MPharm course was fully accredited for the maximum six years by the GPhC in 2016.

Lyndsey Boardman | 24 November 2017