Linking Pharmacy Education and Practice
Professor Stephen Byrne, Professor John O’ Halloran , Dr Maura Kinahan and Dr Catriona Bradley presented to a packed room in UCC in April.
Over 200 personnel comprised of four years of Pharmacy undergraduate students, postgraduate students, professional practicing pharmacy tutors and academic staff from the School of Pharmacy, UCC attended the presentations. It is the first time in the history of the School that all four years of undergraduate students and professionals occupied the same lecture theatre for such an event.
The IIOP created a bespoke e-portfolio and five point CPD cycle for practicing Pharmacists to use to reflect on and document their continuous learning. This continuous learning is to ensure that all pharmacists attain and retain a high level of proficiency in relation to their knowledge, skills and attitudes against 178 behaviours outlined in the Core Competency Framework (CCF) mandated by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) in 2013. With the new demands on Pharmacists to engage with, document and record CPD, we want to ensure that we prepare our student for what will be expected of them as professionals in the workplace. One aim of this event was to reassure our students that we have planned for the an education that will prepare them for professional practice, with events like this we will (a) ensure they are well informed and up to date with what is expected of professional pharmacists (b) introduce technology to ease their transition to professional practice (by mimicking IIOP CPD cycles using PebblePad and also by mimicking the IIOP core competency self-assessment tool – CCSAT, again using PebblePad)
UCC is embarking on a new Integrated 5-Year MPharm Programme, which focuses on integrating placement and education. Professor Stephen Byrne and Dr Maura Kinahan outlined the plan for placements for the new MPharm programme reassuring the students that the work placements are strategically placed so that ‘experiential learning’ is incremental each year. ‘This model of gradually increased exposure to duties and responsibilities will motivate our students and enhance their knowledge and skills, accordingly increasing their self-confidence and independence’ said Prof Byrne. Prof John O Halloran and Prof Stephen Byrne reaffirmed the quality of students we have in the School of Pharmacy and the quality of our MPharm programme that will produce graduates with the ‘intellectual strength, analytical rigour and a set of transferable life skills which will equip them for successful careers’.
Dr Bradley presented on the ‘Journey from Student to Pharmacist’ and reinvigorated, motivated and inspired our students with an empowering presentation giving them confidence in themselves, by emphasising what they had achieved to be here and what they could achieve in the future. Dr Bradley began the night with the big question ‘are you ready, are you ready right now to be a pharmacist, do you have the emotional supports, the business plan the right relationships in place to see you through when pressure comes on and doubt sets in…..are you ready’. This profound introduction set the scene for an emotive and motivating presentation, where she outlined the value of Pharmacy and the opportunities it gave to our students. Dr Bradley ended the night with some advice for the students and pharmacists ‘take care of yourself, mentally, physically and emotionally’, she said ‘perfection is needed but only in dispensing’
Practicing Pharmacists who act as tutors to our student on their placements, travelled from as far afield as Kinvara, Co Galway and Ardfert, Co. Kerry, not forgetting those that travelled from Fermoy and more locally form Carragaline and Mahon. One of the tutors commented that ‘the atmosphere in the room was uplifting and warm different to when I was in college’.
This event was about linking University learning with the real world, networking with our stakeholders, ensuring that we are preparing our students for professional practice and that they on graduation are ‘work and world ready’. We endeavour to facilitate the building of strong bridges with the professionals and ensure they are aware of the value we place on the experiential learning gained by our students under their supervision and guidance.
Our students exited the packed theatre with a new found energy and enthusiasm as the face their exams in less than two weeks, we wish them the very best.