For many people already working full-time, the prospect of going on to further study and returning to the classroom seems out of the question…
Fortunately, with Advanced Community Pharmacy Practice – one of our many postgraduate courses that can be studied part-time – the flexible hours and distance-learning delivery method means that current pharmacists can continue their career progression without having to make concessions at work. But don’t take our word for it…
Gary Chen works at an independent pharmacy in Altrincham, Manchester, but still finds the time study on the ACPP course
What is the best thing about your course/what aspect are you most enjoying?
One of the things that appealed to me the most was the variety of modules on offer; it also means you can tailor your study around your work as it catered around current professionals and built up of several distance-learning units.
What are you hoping to do following studies?
I want to explore potential new services within community pharmacy – the field is evolving and I don’t want to get left behind by not trying to broaden my skills and areas of interest.
Which modules did you choose and why?
I chose some modules that focused on more general principles things relevant to my current career, such as Clinical Practice, Examination and Assessment, and Patient-centred Care. However, I also chose more specialised units such as Cancer Awareness, as not only does this fit in with the NHS’ new initiatives and model of care, but Manchester also has excellent connections to cancer treatment.
Based in Somerset, Julianah Osadare works as a locum pharmacist between multiple small and larger chains across the South West of England
Which modules did you choose and why?
First year modules were a combination of clinical skills, patient care and writing pharmaceutical care plans. I enjoyed studying them because it made me think further into different disease states and how the pharmacist role is far more beyond dispensing and accuracy checking of prescribed medicines.
What impact has the course made in your team, your pharmacy and on patient care?
I’m more confident in talking about different disease states and improving adherence with patients. Working as a locum, I always get to work with different teams with varied skillsets, which often means I can find myself having to lead a group to ensure smooth and effective running of the pharmacy. This course has improved my organisational, motivational and time-management skills so much.
How did you manage to study alongside working in a busy pharmacy environment? Did you have the full support of your line manager/employer?
I had the support of my manager when I had a full-time job, definitely – even when I was falling behind, I found I could still take a day off in the week to catch up with my work. I’m able to manage my time effectively, ensuring I don’t leave any assignment till the last minute.
Elham Taheri is another student on the programme who has stayed local to Manchester, currently working at Lloyds Pharmacy in Salford alongside studying
What interested/motivated you to take up studying again?
The NHS is changing and my knowledge of and skills in practice needed to evolve in order for me to develop myself and move on in my career
What attracted you to the course?
The course attracted me because of the flexibility in terms of time but also the variety on offer: single modules, online units and being able to build up a combination of credits up to make up a Master’s level. The course also helps with revalidation and brushing up on important principles at multiple levels.
How has the learning helped you in your role?
My knowledge of the different services available has helped me to better signpost patients to the most relevant areas, such as with cases regarding sexual health and cancer screening, which has in turn then helped reduce the burden on GPs.
The clinical knowledge I gained during this programme has helped me gain better diagnostic skills, how to recognise red flag symptoms earlier and make a change to people’s lives.
What tangible outcomes have you gained as a direct result of your learning?
The course has taught me a lot about the practicalities of pharmaceuticals, such as efficiency both in terms of time and money, so that neither wasted and instead the focus can on improving service and patient care can be reinforced.
Do you have plans for further development now that you have started studying?
Yes: my ultimate goal is to work at The Christie Hospital as an oncology pharmacist and this course has already helped me acquire the necessary skills to get that step closer to my goal, not to mention its association with cancer research and the hospital itself.
What would you say to someone who is considering taking up this funded training for themselves?
I highly encourage taking up the course. You get a chance to recap and learn more about very important clinical subjects, and in terms of staying motivated and focused, returning to study after working for a few years makes all the difference.