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Catherine worked as a medical admissions and anticoagulant pharmacist before moving into the Education and Training arena at Frimley Park Hospital - and got the bug for teaching. In 2011 she joined the University as a Senior Teaching Fellow in pharmacy practice.

"As soon as I arrived at Reading, I knew there was something I needed to bring to the course - and that was more hands-on experience of real-life patients. Training workshops and simulations are useful, but nothing can beat the real thing."

True to her vision, Catherine launched the Healthy Living Assessment (HLA) later that year. After training and competency tests, Year 4 students are able to undertake a Healthy Living Assessment on real patients. This entails performing a series of diagnostic tests to calculate the possible risk of heart disease. They also consult with the patients and discuss their lifestyle (such as diet, exercise regime and alcohol consumption) enabling them to give evidence-based healthy living advice.

But for Catherine it didn't end there. Her determination to help her students have a greater understanding of their patients' challenges has been further enhanced by the introduction of an Interprofessional Learning Symposium.

Students have the opportunity to talk to elderly patients and then get to experience for themselves the everyday difficulties these patients face. For example, by wearing visual impairment glasses, students can empathise with how challenging simple tasks can become - like reading a medicine label, filling out a hospital menu or simply finding the toilet.

By putting on bariatric suits (which simulate being overweight) and movement-restricting elderly simulation suits, students discover how hard and stressful it can be for some people to get back up after experiencing a fall. 

"Today, empathy with the problems that patients face is paramount to any would-be pharmacist. There is no substitute for real, hands-on experience - which is something that I am determined every pharmacy graduate from Reading School of Pharmacy walks into work with."


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Study the development and use of medicine with the MPharm undergraduate degree. This degree is accredited by the pharmacy regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council, and has recently been redesigned to reflect the changing roles of pharmacists.