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UCLan hosts learning event to bring together student pharmacists and doctors

UCLan hosts learning event

UCLan’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences have recently collaborated with Lancaster University’s Medical School in hosting an Inter-Professional Learning (IPL) event. IPL is an activity formed and created by UCLan’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences to help develop the interaction of pharmacists both with doctors and the general public.

The role of doctors and pharmacists in the current health organisations are vital to how patients with life-threatening diseases get treated. It is very important that both the pharmacist and the doctor have a clear understanding and knowledge of what each other contributes towards, to help the patient with the right diagnosis and medication.

Ann Urmston, a Teaching Practitioner for the School, runs the programme for UCLan. Ann summarised why she thought this activity was crucial for both the Pharmacy students of UCLan and Medical students of Lancaster University: “The role of a doctor and pharmacist involves ensuring that the patient’s care is delivered to a high standard starting from their diagnosis right through to their treatment. Therefore for them to be involved in inter-professional learning as undergraduates allows them to start to collaborate on working towards this common goal together. This will allow them to develop key skills to aid their professional careers. As both disciplines will communicate during their careers to ensure their roles are carried out in the patient’s best interest."

In the event held on 30 January, students from both universities were assigned to groups consisting of a doctor, who were students of Lancaster University Medical School, two pharmacists from UCLan’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, and a patient who would be role-played by students from UCLan’s School of Art, Design and Performance.

The groups of four were given tasks to solve a medical problem that the patient would present, and it was the duty of the doctor and the pharmacist working together to prescribe the right diagnosis and medication.

The activity consisted of two sessions - the first was a real-life situation of a community pharmacist, whilst the second scenario was a pharmacist working in a hospital. Both scenarios would create a different mind-set for how the problem would be solved.

The patients, played by Acting students from UCLan, helped the student doctors and pharmacists understand and appreciate how real-life activities in surgeries and pharmacies would feel. Third year student actress Jasmin Raymond was asked how this activity has helped her, responding: “It is great to collaborate with other Schools around the University, especially the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, as well as working with students from another university who are complete strangers. This helps greatly because as actors we have to audition for roles, and this has given me a boost in confidence for working with people who are not known to me.”

Light refreshments for students and staff provided an ideal opportunity for both universities to get to know each other. Dr Martin Armer, Director of Communication Skills at Lancaster Medical School, added: “I think this a great opportunity for Lancaster Medical students and UCLan Pharmacy students to appreciate their different roles and how they can work together. Even though this activity has been going on for a couple of years, I am here for the first time and think it’s great. There’s a lot of soft learning for the students in terms of how to see things in a different perspective.”

At the end of the session, both universities were asked for feedback on how they found such a collaboration and the process overall. The positive response was phenomenal, with everyone keen to take part in future. The activity was a great success for both universities with everyone leaving having learnt something new.

A special thank you to Ann Urmston, Katie Greenwood, Rachel Isba and Thomas Fisher who collaborate between universities to organise these sessions.