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Isaac Alade | University of Sunderland

Pharmacy MPharm

What have I enjoyed in this pharmacy semester so far?

Dressed professionally for PBL presentation day.

5 weeks into the semester and the first assessment for 3rd year pharmacy students was a problem based learning (PBL) presentation.

The case me and four of the colleagues in my group were presented with was about a 54 year old woman who had been newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.  We were given 3 weeks to create a presentation where we had to:  Critically evaluate the evidence base for monotherapy of 1st line conventional disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in rheumatoid arthritis.

Within the evaluation we were expected to include details of the mechanism of action of the drugs, their uses backed by evidence from literature, monitoring requirements and key side effects.  Also we had to explain how a reduction in the incidence of side effects may be brought about.

We were expected to learn all this information with minimal assistance from our tutor’s. The role of our tutor’s was to simply act as a mentor/ facilitator.

How me and my group tackled the problem.

  1. We listed any information we already knew making sure to note everybody’s input. We then discussed each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Some of us were more confident with public speaking; others were talented at gathering necessary information etc.
  2. We then discussed as a group what we all individually thought the problem was and then agreed on how we would approach it as a group. It was important to make sure everyone was on the same page.
  3. At this point we had figured out the information that we were lacking and we decided to assign each individual with their own research task. From here on we constantly arranged meetings where we would discuss our research with one another, create power point slides, as well as practice for the presentation.

The presentation had to be 20 minutes. Not a minute more and not a minute less, which my group successfully managed to achieve. After this we were subjected to questioning from our tutor to make sure the whole group had learnt what was necessary from the task.

How was PBL helpful?

  • It helped to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application to individual patients.
  • PBL helped to improve skills which would be necessary within a working environment; working as a team, presenting large amounts of confusing information in a clear concise manor, time management and much more.
  • Also it was good revision for final exams.

This was a unique way of learning which was advantageous for exams and my career after graduation. I hope this blog has given all you prospective students out there a little taste of what the academic day to day life of a pharmacy student is.

Thank you for taking the time to read, until next time.

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  • Name: Isaac Alade
  • Age: 24
  • Studying: Pharmacy MPharm
  • Hometown: London, UK
  • Ambitions: To start my career within community pharmacy, eventually leading to me owning my own chain of pharmacies.
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