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Hera Mobeen Ali

4th Year MPharm Student

What made UCLan so appealing to you?

The friendly and close-knit atmosphere when I attended for my interview really drew me to applying for UCLan and consider attending the university. Seeing students interact so effortlessly with lecturers also made me want to come to UCLan, as it made me feel like I would be able to forge good relationships with my lecturers.

Why do you think people should come to Preston?

Preston is a mix of a busy city as well as being small enough to not feel overwhelmed as everything is very close to each other. It is easy to make friends and ask for help if you need it from your lecturers as everyone is easy to approach.

Was it easy to settle into the course?

Yes, the lecturers were always available to ask questions whether it be via email or visiting their office. I also saw my personal tutor a few times in my first year who kept up with me and how I was doing, which I really found helpful. As I progressed into the second and third year I continued with meeting her a few times in the year, and it made me build a stronger relationship with her. She was also able to help me a lot when I was applying for summer placements, and helped me get all the right documents in order to apply. As well as this the programme is great, I like the smaller groups for tutorials and workshops as it made it easier to learn and ask questions.

What is the teaching like here?

There is a mix of problem-based learning and lecture taught material, being in smaller groups makes it easier to work together and get to know other students in your year. Staff are always willing to help you when you are struggling and are always looking for ways to make things easier for you, which has helped me a lot.

What personal skills have you gained from your studies?

I have learnt how to manage my time when it comes to extracurricular activities and balancing them with my studies as well as my wellbeing. I was also able to strengthen my ability to be compassionate, as the experience with Comensus taught me that patients are real people with real feelings and they can also be quite fragile. This experience allowed me to be grateful and appreciate the patients I will interact with daily as a pharmacist, and to take my time with patients.

How does the course prepare you for further studies/careers?

We gain a lot of experience interacting with patients through the Comensus scheme, which allows us to develop our communication skills when talking to patients keeping in mind their ailments and can tailor our conversations to each patient. We also gained a lot of knowledge coming from the patients themselves regarding their conditions, which is more valuable than anything you’ll get in a text book. We have been given the opportunity to take part in placements in communities and hospital’s and in fourth year were given options to pick from for our placement, they involved unique experiences such as prison pharmacy, industry and paediatrics. Having this experience allows us to get a feel for the type of industry we want to work in, which is key for once we’ve qualified and gives us a taste of the real world.

Do any of you have any personal barriers that you have overcome while studying at UCLan?

I found it quite difficult to talk to new people when I first started at UCLan, however the friendly staff and atmosphere made it very easy and within a few months I gained the confidence to get involved with the different activities that were available, such as joining the Pharmacy Society and the BPSA.

Outside of your studies, what other opportunities have you been involved in?

I was able to attend pharmacy conferences in Poland and Czech Republic, I also took part in the student exchange programme last summer in Ohio, USA. As a part of the Pharmacy Buddies, I have been involved in numerous health melas, where we carried out health checks for the public, explained and interpreted their results and gave patients the appropriate lifestyle advice unique to them. I have also been involved in several health campaigns during my time at UCLan, such as the pharmacy cuts campaign, antibiotic resistance campaign, sexual health awareness and world cancer day. I have also been on the pharmacy society as a committee member for the past three years.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

My greatest achievement so far was being accepted to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) at the Wold Health Organisation (WHO) in May 2017. Around 20 students are selected internationally to attend this event by IPSF which is the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation, to sit with health ministers from all over the world and represent student pharmacists. It has always been a dream of mine to visit and be present at the WHO ever since I went to Switzerland in Year 8. By studying pharmacy, I learnt that pharmacy has an integral role in the WHO especially when it comes to emergency medicine. I am very excited to attend the WHA and learn more about what is going on in healthcare all around the world. I am also looking forward to learning more about the role of the WHO in global health and how pharmacists are involved, as it is one of my passions to get involved in this line of work.

What advice would you give to students considering studying at UCLan?

For students considering studying at UCLan, I would advise them to attend an Open Day to get a good feel for what the university is like, ask questions to lecturers and students you meet who are studying the course you want to do! See if the university is active on twitter and ask questions on there. Make the most of learning about where you might be studying and the course you want to study, the more informed you are the better of a decision you can make!

Why should people choose this course?

Pharmacy is a constantly developing profession, where the role of a pharmacist is becoming more patient facing. Pharmacists are the experts in medicines and are some of the first healthcare professional’s patients will come to when they have an ailment. Pharmacists can be the most accessible and influential when it comes to management of ailments and are able to provide patients with the best form of treatment at the most convenient times without needing an appointment. Prospects after qualifying as a pharmacist are so diverse, from working in hospital preparing chemotherapy and other sterile preparations, to working in industry and being involved in clinical trials and the development of the drug, there are so many things out there the list is endless. If you have an interest for medicine and working in healthcare and are thinking of a profession where you can have direct patient contact, pharmacy is for you!

06 March 2018