This summer we had a fun and unconventional experience in the charming city of Manchester, where we spent 15 days of joy, fun, learning, exploring and experiencing!
We are a group of 14 students from the Faculty of Pharmacy at Cairo University. In the beginning, we thought attending this short-term course would only enrich our pharmaceutical knowledge and gain a little experience in hospital settings, but it was rather an eye opening experience about the vast role of a clinical pharmacist in a healthcare setting and in the community as a whole.
7 July — Heathrow Airport
At Heathrow airport, a shuttle bus was waiting for us, which we all boarded with enthusiastically beating hearts.
“Welcome to Manchester!” Dr. Douglas Steinke charmingly said with the young beautifully smiling Dr Ireny Iskandar when we had finally arrived in the evening. He helpfully guided us through the registration process at the Student Sanctuary at Denmark Road. We quickly settled in our rooms, dropped off our luggage, and excitedly headed to the city centre on foot! Imagine landing from a long five hour flight and three hour drive, and still having energy to explore the city!
9 July — University of Manchester
We started off in the lecture halls where we met lecturers responsible for teaching the course. They were very welcoming, enthusiastic to share their experiences and excited to educate us. They provided us with internet access, educational resources, and research libraries. They gave us educational material, workbooks for our hospital placements, and a BNF — an important source of information for any pharmacist — to guide us in our course, along with many other welcome gifts!
During the first few lectures we were introduced to the NHS, pharmacy’s place in this giant intricate system and the role of the pharmacist too! We also learnt how crucial the role of the clinical pharmacist is, as evidenced by studies and statistical data.
Following the introductory lectures, we received educational lectures on the most common diseases and issues facing the community, and in what areas the pharmacist has a positive impact on patient care.
The content of the lectures was fun and easy to understand, as it didn’t only rely on theoretical information but had a lot of exciting practical work. For instance, we learned how to use different types of inhalers, participated in role plays between a pharmacist and a GP to enhance our communication skills, and prepared therapeutic care plans for patients.
10 July — Hospital placements
We started our hospital placements, visiting three of the largest educational hospitals in Manchester. For most of us, it was our first time in a hospital setting viewing medical records and talking to patients, all first hand. The clinical tutors who guided us in every hospital were very helpful and cooperative. We would say they were truly excellent leaders and role models! They talked us through every case and helped us brainstorm the right questions to ask the patients so that we could gather the most relevant information that was needed to present our cases.
We were organised into groups so we could meet more patients to maximize our experience, having read medical records and prepared questions prior to meeting the patients. Although being this prepared, we sometimes faced problems, mainly the patients being tired and overwhelmed and not as cooperative as we expected, or when the patients would speak very softly and we had to listen carefully. Thanks to our clinical tutors, we overcame many of those hardships with ease.
Our mornings started with presenting the information that we have collected during the previous day at the hospital. The constructive criticism we received from professors helped us expand our data collection skills as well as gave us ideas that never really crossed our minds. Our improvement was apparent as the days passed.
Apart from the clinical course, we hugely enjoyed our time shopping in the city centre; we visited Tatton Park, many other monuments, and historical places.
Undoubtedly, we acquired and developed our clinical knowledge, interpersonal skills and a caring attitude. We gained more confidence talking to patients, observed and applied what we’ve been learning in textbooks into practice. We took a step in becoming prepared, future pharmacists and most importantly, we enjoyed every single minute of it!
It was a pleasure being able to learn at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Oxford Road Campus and Wythenshawe Hospital site, and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.
Last but not least, we advise you future pharmacists and lifelong learners to seek as many hospital placements as you can get, to understand that it’s okay to be afraid at first but new experiences can truly widen your perception and do not ever lose hope.
We assure you one thing about this course; it will be an unforgettable, eye-opening experience and a cornerstone in your career!
This trip had been possible through the organized efforts of many people. We would like to express our deep gratitude to Diane Mitchell, Kate Oates, Harun Juwale, Caroline Wheeler, Lisa Blackburn, Anna Graves, and Holly Devine for being excellent tutors and influencers. We appreciated the unfailing attention that was offered and the well organised planning of the programme without missing any detail. We would also like to thank Nirmeen Sabry, Samar Farghaly, Douglas Steinke and Ireny Iskandar.
Box: The Clinical Pharmacy Summer School at the University of Manchester
The Division of Pharmacy and Optometry at the University of Manchester was delighted to host a two-week Clinical Pharmacy Summer School (CPSS) for undergraduate students from Cairo University (Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences) between the 9th to 22nd July 2018.
The course provided self-motivated, international students studying pharmacy at Cairo University an opportunity to develop and expand their knowledge of the UK NHS healthcare system, and experience UK clinical pharmacy practice. Ranked 34th in the world, the University of Manchester has a high international standing with 25 Nobel Prize winners. We are particularly proud of our strengths in Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice disciplines.
During the two week summer school, the students undertook hospital placements at Salford Royal Hospital and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s Oxford Road Campus and Wythenshawe site.
Students were able to practice their presentation skills by presenting clinical cases to their peers, Cairo academics and Manchester academics. There were also plenty of opportunities for social activities.
Ireny Iskandar, CPSS academic lead