Improving Undergraduate Communication and Clinical Skills: Personal Reflections of a Real World Experience


  • Rita Shah School of Pharmacy, University of London, 29–39 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX, UK


Pharmacy, Pharmacy education, Pharmacy practice, Pharmacy course evaluation, Communication skills, Clinical skills


To work effectively as a pharmacist, it is vital to communicate well with patients and to learn and practice clinical skills in order to identify and solve pharmaceutical care issues. However, the MPharm programme is more than the preparation for pre-registration and aims to establish lifelong learning habits in all students while at university. A patient focused education programme was developed at a school of pharmacy with two components: improving communication skills via patient interviews conducted at the University and learning and practising clinical skills via hospital placements. The patient interviews and clinical hospital visits provided a real world experience for students to practice their communication and clinical skills. To acquire lifelong learning skills, students were encouraged during the interviews and hospital visits to take responsibility for their own learning, monitor their learning plans and activities and to assess their effectiveness so as to adopt habits of continuing professional development and reflective practice. This paper describes the development of the course, evaluates whether it was able to fulfil its objectives and reflects on where improvements can be made.


Biggs, J. (1999) Teaching for Quality Learning at University (Open University Press, Philadelphia).

Department of Health (2000) Pharmacy in the Future — Implement- ing the NHS Plan. Stationary Office.

Habeshaw, S., Gibbs, G. and Habeshaw, T. (1998) Interesting Ways to Assess Your Students (The Cromwell Press Ltd, Bristol).

Light, G. and Cox, R. (2001) Learning and Teaching in Higher Education — The reflective professional (Paul Chapman Publish-

ing, London).

Ramsden, P. (1992) Learning to Teach in Higher Education

(Routledge, London).





Research Article