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Emily Jackson: The Inside Track – University of Reading

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    Undertaking placements while studying

Emily Jackson: The Inside Track

Emily JacksonEmily Jackson went to prison for the sake of her education. Well, to clarify, she spent two days working in HM Prison Swansea's Pharmacy Department - one of eight placements that Emily undertook during her MPharm degree.

Getting out into the workplace helps students put learning into context, which is why MPharm students undertake placements throughout their undergraduate degree.

HM Prison Swansea was Emily's first placement. She shadowed the Chief Pharmacist throughout her daily activities and was trusted to help with controlled drug stock checks.

"Learning about prison drug charts and medication was extremely interesting and it was especially useful to observe the pharmacist-patient interaction to see how it compares with other pharmacy settings."

Next, she spent four weeks interacting directly with customers during her placement with Boots, followed closely by a week at St Bernard's Hospital, where she gained experience of psychiatric medicines. She then furthered her knowledge at Royal Berkshire Hospital, University Hospital of Wales, Morriston Hospital and Prince Charles Hospital.

"Placements in such a wide range of establishments enabled me to make an informed decision about what area of pharmacy I wanted to work in for pre-registration. Working in these environments gave me real-life experience that can't be learned from lectures."

As well as shadowing pharmacists, Emily had an opportunity to work alongside other healthcare professionals and to learn from medicines management technicians, pharmacy technicians and assistant technical officers. However, it is not only the students who benefit from these relationships. During her final placement, Emily supported a hospital pharmacy with an audit and was directly responsible for a number of prescription changes that improved the quality of care for patients.

It is the outstanding quality of students, like Emily, that has helped solidify long-established, trusted relationships between Reading School of Pharmacy and the healthcare sector. Yet, despite close links with industry and strong support from the School, securing placements takes effort.

"Don't be afraid to contact as many places as possible because, in my experience, they are always supportive and positive."

 Since graduating, Emily has begun her pre-registration year back at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

"I feel I'm very well prepared with both theoretical and practical knowledge from my time at Reading and am excited to discover what opportunities lie ahead in my pharmacy career."

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