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The moral of four years of pharmacy

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The time has come wherethe exams have finished for fourth year pharmacy students at UEA. It seems likethe four years of the MPharm course has flown by and I literally cannot believewhere the time has gone! I therefore decided to give a summary of the fouryears of studying pharmacy.

I found first year tobe more focused on building the general knowledge of the science behindpharmacy; I don’t remember it being as difficult as the other years, although Iam sure I did not think this at the time especially when I was trying to adjustfrom sixth form to university. Second year was definitely the most challengingyear with long, lab-filled days (there were some 6 pm finishes!) and chemistry-filled modules. Third year was when I really started enjoying the course andappreciating how important medicines are to treat conditions. The majority ofthe modules were very clinical and this was the year I started to feel like Iwas actually on my way to being a pharmacist. We also practised so much atcounselling, responding to symptoms and taking a medical history that I feltlike I was an expert! Then fourth year arrived, the most significant year andthe ‘masters’ element of the degree. This year included even more complex and clinicalmodules (e.g. psychiatry), allowed us to choose some modules and mostimportantly, the big research project that determined a large proportion of ourdegree grade. We also learned new skills, such as medicines information (askingquestions and replying to the query with an answer). The fourth year wasdefinitely my favourite and I can honestly say that it prepared me well forpre-reg.

Overall, the MPharmdegree is one that requires professionalism, knowledge and dedication with goodcareer prospects. Reflecting on my degree made me remember how I thought Iwould never reach my final year, mostly because it seemed so far away when Ifirst started and secondly because it was hard and challenging at times. I haveno regrets at all over choosing to study pharmacy, although I have had doubtsbefore! I understand that the degree is right to be a difficult one becausepatients’ lives are at the hands of the pharmacist; one accidental mistakecould potentially harm a patient.

So what is next?Taking the last few steps to becoming an actual pharmacist and putting thelearning into practice. The moral of the last four years of my studying is, inthe words of Hippocrates, ‘cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always’. Inother words, medication is not always theanswer to everything, but a good pharmacist should always reassure theirpatients and take their views into account.

 

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