December 9, 2014, by Lindsay Brooke

Pharmacy students ‘get down to business’

How does a pharmacy student learn to cope with the reality of running a business – coping with calls from doctors, nursing homes, patients and out of hours practice alongside the day-to-day leadership and management challenges?

At The University of Nottingham students are to benefit from the unique experience of ‘running’ their own pharmacy business in an immersive simulated environment.

Officially opened by Ashok Soni, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Council, the new Pharmacy Professional Development Suite has been designed and developed within the 4th year pharmacy leadership and management module to allow pharmacy students to gain the real life skills they will need – with all the situations and challenges that will bring.

Dr Matthew Boyd, Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice in the School of Pharmacy said; “Students will work in teams of six to set up, design, market and run their own simulated pharmacy business for the whole year. They will be confronted with routine activities such as medicines sales and health queries, long lasting projects such as health campaigns and service development, emergency situations and tested with numerous challenges throughout the experience.  Actors will visit as patients and customers, prescribers, pharmaceutical company representatives, inspectors etc. They may receive phone calls from doctors, nursing homes, patients, and have to do real out of hours practice.”

Problems might be to prepare a presentation for a clinical commissioning group on a new pharmacy service or respond to an ethical dilemma. Each team will physically be in their pharmacy for 14 days spread over the year to manage the business and receive patients.

This innovative approach will bring together integrated learning from across the whole MPharm course in order to run a pharmacy business, far beyond our current perceptions of community pharmacy that provides patient care, essential, advanced and bespoke services and develop leadership, management, marketing and communication skills, problem-solving abilities and team working skills.

Professor Clive Roberts, Head of the School of Pharmacy, said: “This new facility represents a significant part of our ongoing regeneration of our teaching facilities and will enable us to deliver innovative and challenging education designed to produce the future leaders of our profession through the class leading MPharm programme at Nottingham”.

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