As part of their studies at the School of Pharmacy, MPharm students have the opportunity to undertake placements within hospital, community, and primary care.
Find out below what MPharm student, Jonathan Kennedy, undertook during his 2017 placement!
Jonathan Daniel Kennedy, MPharm, Class of 2018
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Pharmacy Summer Internship July 24th, 2017 – August 18th, 2017.
In April 2017, I was accepted to take part in the Hospital Pharmacy Summer Internship Programme at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.
I was among a group of 5 other pharmacy students from around the country, and I was partnered with a student from the University of Cardiff, Wales. I have a written a summary of my activities and experiences during this unique summer programme. I was partnered with a fellow intern, Joanna Sykes, and our base site was the Inpatient Dispensary at Guy’s Hospital. Our internship lead was the Dispensary Manager, Jenni Hunt, and with her guidance we conducted a 4-week clinical audit project.
Our objective was to find a solution to the heavy waves of prescriptions that were sent from various hospital departments to the inpatient dispensary for screening. Often, specialist pharmacists screen prescriptions from within their respective departments, but when they are not present, the prescriptions have to be sent to the inpatient dispensary for screening by the generalist pharmacist. This created acute workload pressures for the dispensary team.
Along with the ongoing project, we were encouraged to experience hospital pharmacy beyond the inpatient dispensary, and we were able to arrange several other observational activities throughout Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital to diversify our knowledge and experience in hospital pharmacy.
Some of my highlights include:
Guy’s HIV Clinic
This clinic has delivered specialist care for people living with HIV since 1993, and currently looks after over 3500 individuals. Here, I was able to appreciate the complexity of care in HIV, and the benefits of discussing medicines use in HIV with the specialist pharmacist, so that the patient can make the most of their medication and adhere to prescribed drug regimens. Patients are given the opportunity to address personal concerns, and to explore the personal routines and care plans that best suit their needs and lifestyles.
Guy’s Sleep Disorders Centre
The sleep disorders centre provides services to patients who experience sleep apnoea, unusual behaviours during sleep such as sleepwalking and acting out dreams, narcolepsy and other neurological disorders, and disorders of circadian rhythm. Here, I observed the specialist pharmacist carry out patient consultations to counsel patients on the correct use of medicines prescribed to treat sleep disorders, and to identify any issues with other medicines which may be contributing to their difficulties in sleeping.
Guy’s Cancer Centre
At Guy’s Cancer Centre, we were given the opportunity to explore the various departments and services offered to oncology patients. The pharmacist gave us a tour of the facility, and we were introduced to the large aseptic unit where many cancer treatments are made in a controlled, sterile environment.
The centre is unique in that the radiology services have been located above ground level, which is unusual for this type of service. I found this to be quite reassuring for patients and believe helps reduce the perception of risk that may be associated with radiotherapy.
The picture above shows the balcony gardens on each level, where two to three levels make up a “village”, such as the Welcome Village, Chemotherapy Village and Radiotherapy village. Here patients can go to relax out on the balconies and detach themselves from the indoor clinical environments during their treatment visits. This is also where many pharmacists and nurses are present, as it is where patients wait to receive chemotherapy and other pharmacological treatment. I think this a brilliant way to help ensure patients receive holistic and stress-free care during their time at the Cancer Centre.
The main highlight of my experience at Guy’s Cancer Centre, which was not necessarily related to pharmacy, was the ‘Fitting Room’ based in Welcome Village, where patients can try on and be fitted for wigs, hairpieces, headwear and mastectomy products, including prostheses, lingerie and swimwear.
It is these services that enable me to appreciate the large extent of holistic care that patients can benefit from, and I am inspired to explore and consider all aspects of patient care in my role as a pharmacist.
Evelina London Children’s Hospital
We experienced inpatient paediatric pharmacy services at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
While shadowing the paediatric pharmacist on the Savannah Ward (the hospital has an overall theme – the natural world – and each level represents a different part, from ocean on the ground floor, to sky at the very top), I appreciated the importance of the pharmacist and her duty to ensure that all drug choices and doses are appropriate for the size and age of the child patient.
The pharmacist is a key role model to help children and parents understand their medicines, and is available to aid and personalize the treatment plan to best suit the child.
Surgery Elective at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
During my hospital pharmacy internship, we were able to experience first-hand the role of surgery in patient healthcare. We observed two oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures performed by a specialist, multidisciplinary team of, surgeons, senior house officers, nurses, anaesthetists, and of course, hospital pharmacy interns!
The surgical procedures included temporomandibular joint (TMJ) arthrocentesis and arthroscopy, and bimaxillary osteotomy. The first procedure, TMJ arthrocentesis and arthroscopy involved the insertion of a camera into the hinge joint of the jaw to assess and treat underlying inflammation of the joint to ease pain and limitation of movement. The second procedure, bimaxillary osteotomy, involved cutting the bone of the upper and lower jaw to realign the position and correct the ‘bite’ of the patient, where the lower jaw naturally protruded and tended towards one side of the face.
From a pharmacy point of view, it was a unique opportunity to learn from the anaesthetist, to understand the use of various drugs commonly administered before, during, and after surgery.
The image (right) shows five different drugs given to the patient who required bimaxillary osteotomy. These include:
- Rocuronium bromide (a muscle relaxant)
- Morphine (an opioid analgesic to relieve pain)
- Fentanyl (an opioid analgesic about 100 times stronger than morphine)
- Ondansetron (an antiemetic drug to reduce nausea)
- Paracetamol (a mild analgesic and antipyretic to reduce fever)
My advice to MPharm students at the School of Pharmacy, University of Lincoln:
Summer pharmacy internships are incredible opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and experience of professional pharmacy practice.
Jonathan Kennedy with Sam Doherty, a pharmacy pre-registration student (2016–2017) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
Oriel is a new and competitive system for allocating hospital pharmacy pre-registration places, and I would recommend to any pharmacy student to make the most of these voluntary opportunities to help you stand out and boost your chances of gaining the pre-registration place right for you.
You not only learn about pharmacy practice and roles of the pharmacist, but also gain teamwork, communication and organizational skills to improve your overall professional profile. Also, you have the chance to meet and speak with the current pre registration students!