Full-time employment, family commitments, or even just the notion of taking any extended time off work, often means that further study isn’t always feasible for everyone. Fortunately, at Manchester, we offer various Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas, many of which can be studied part-time and even through distance-learning, where you complete most of your work online. Here’s what two of our students on pharmacy-related distance learning programmes had to say…
Sze Woon Loi, a.k.a. Annie – PGCert Advanced Community Pharmacy Practice (ACPP)
I always got on really well with my tutors and I kept in touch with them after my bachelors. Shortly after graduation, they began circulating information regarding the ACPP programme.
This piqued my interest as I was really interested in expanding my clinical knowledge. Community pharmacists can lose their clinical knowledge over time, so the course helps you keep updated and with revalidation for new pharmacists, so I signed up for the course.
The tutors have been really crucial in helping me develop my skills and the course units are well structured into weekly topics, so it’s easy to keep track of each week. I found the Medicine Optimisation modules particularly enjoyable and the Public Health allowed me and my colleagues to engage with patients more effectively.
The best thing was the feedback from the tutors about my work and assignments: this not only enabled me to improve but also helped me affect greater change in the community, through being able to better assist the public in the pharmacy.
Even though I work full time, I get complete and total support from my manager: I’m given four hours to study each week and I catch up on the rest in the evenings and days off. I am now studying the Independent Prescribing course and I’m confident that the knowledge I gained from ACPP will benefit me vastly.
All community pharmacists should consider the Advanced Community Pharmacy Practice course: it keeps you up to date with clinical knowledge and develops your skills; it helps you revalidate and enables you to connect with other pharmacists from different backgrounds and levels of experience. It all contributes to enriching your experience as a pharmacist.
Fran Heaton – PGDip Pharmaceutical Industrial Advanced Training (PIAT)
The most influence you get on a distance-learning course is typically from lecture notes: I would say that these sets are some of the best I’ve come across. Once I had finished each module, it felt like everything all tied together, rather than just have lots of disjointed bits of information.
Fortunately, on this course, we also have the PIAT Summer School, which gives you the opportunity to network and meet other people on the course, as well as look at other modules I might take in the future. It gives you kind of a headstart on the lectures notes, so you learn a bit more about what you’re letting yourself in for.
I’m quite lucky in the sense that although I’ve never met most people on the course, there are four of us from my company, RB (Reckitt Benckiser). The programme is heavily recommended by many industry professionals, so I imagine it’s the same for others too.
I primarily picked modules that would help me in this role, so I have mainly learned about oral solids and formulation skills, but I do intend to experiment with other units this year to help give me a broader knowledge.
There have been times when I’ve found it quite tough because there is obviously a lot of reading and learning through just one format, as opposed to being at university, where you have lots of lectures in different styles. However, I think this means you actually learn better because you have to motivate yourself in order to get your head around it – in fact, I’m actually doing better now than on my bachelor’s and I think it’s because I’ve finally discovered my type of learning.