Education case study reports reflection on teaching strategies for pharmacy students


  • Hana Morrissey Charles Darwin University
  • Patrick Anthony Ball CDU


Simulation, Flipping the Classroom, Pharmacokinetics, Clean Room, Palliative Care, Peer Review


Introduction: Teaching should meet the needs of all types of learner present in the class room; the activist, the reflector, the theorist and the pragmatist who also have diverse backgrounds, levels of education and are from different age groups.

Aim: The aim of the four projects was to improve students’ engagement and success.

Method: New teaching strategies were trialled to improve students’ engagement and successes with topics which according to their feedback were considered ‘dry’. The author utilised techniques such as flipping the class-room, simulation, case or problem based learning; and group work replacing traditional lectures. First, third and fourth year students were asked to prepare for the in-class activities at home using the lectures or simulation software.

Results: The strategies were effective in a small class size of 15-20 students, with improved attendance and participation, improved fail/pass rate and number of students achieving credit or pass; however there was no significant change in the number of students achieving high distinction or distinction.

Evaluation: Reproducibility is an important part of the experiment to demonstrate that the results can be trusted. Success with one or two cohorts is not sufficient to adopt a method of teaching. Ongoing evaluation is essential to eliminate cohort-related effects prior to implementation. It is not clear if the achieved results would be achievable in larger classes due to the reduction in student: lecturer ratio and limitation of class room time to allow all students to participate. 

Author Biographies

Hana Morrissey, Charles Darwin University

Dr Hana Morrissey is a senior lecturer at Charles Darwin University, school of Psychological and Clinical sciences. She is a highly qualified registered clinical pharmacist, accredited by the Australian Association of pharmacist consultants and a fellow of the Australian College of Pharmacy. Hana has number of post graduate diplomas in Primary Pharmacy Care and also Pharmacotherapeutics, practice certificates in allergy, diabetes, asthma, dermatology, nutrition, eye care, men’s health, geriatrics, sports medicine, medication management, cardiovascular, mental health and women’s health from the Australian Collage of Pharmacy Practice. She also has post graduate diplomas in hospital pharmacy administration and management (Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia), wound care (Monash University), mental health and the community (Monash University) and agriculture health and medicine (Deakin University). She has practice certificate in emergency disaster response (University of Queensland) and smoking cessation and nicotine dependence (UNSW and Pfizer). She is accredited for home medication management review and is mental health instructor for adults, youth and tertiary students. Hana is a fellow of the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice.

Patrick Anthony Ball, CDU

Professor Patrick Ball is best known for research in clinical nutrition and intravenous feeding and the behaviour of medications in parenteral fluid systems.  In this area he has a global reputation and speaks regularly by invitation at international conferences, including having given presentations in French and German.  Headhunted by Charles Sturt University in 2005, he spent 8 years as Australia’s Foundation Professor of Rural and Remote Pharmacy establishing a research background in that area whilst still maintaining an output in his traditional research areas.  He has been invited to work on clinical guidelines in nutrition support in the UK, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and a pan-European guideline (for which he was flown from New Zealand to take part).  In New Zealand. In New Zealand he sat on government committees on extending prescribing rights to other health professionals, and then on the advisory bodies on prescribing rights for nurses, podiatrists and optometrists.


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Research Article