Integration in the MPharm degree: Preparing students to integrate their medicinal chemistry knowledge with pharmacy practice

Rebecca Craig, Aoife Ramsay

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background Pharmacists are required to undertake work relating to the science of medicines1 and hence an appreciation of the importance of science in practice must be developed during the MPharm degree. To facilitate this, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) require MPharm curricula to be integrated2. Within the degree, students find integration of chemistry aspects challenging, and struggle to perceive their relevance. As this area is vital to the understanding of drug function, medicinal chemistry teaching in Level 2 and 3 of the MPharm degree at QUB has been redesigned to strengthen links between lectures, laboratory practicals, and patients in practice. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of course redesign on student views. Methods Following ethical approval, and piloting with 10 PhD students, a questionnaire was distributed to Level 3 and Level 4 MPharm students. This consisted of 24 Likert scale questions, supplemented with four free-text questions. A focus group (n=7) was conducted with current Level 3 students. Questionnaire data was analysed and compared to data from 2017 (prior to course redesign) using descriptive statistics, Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests, with significance set at p<0.05. Results Questionnaire response rates of 87.5% (91/104) and 74.5% (73/98) were obtained for Level 3 and 4 respectively. Significantly higher numbers of those who undertook the new course reported being able to integrate chemistry components with practice-based components of their course (54% vs 32%), and being able to see the relevance of pharmaceutical analysis (70% vs 47%) and drug molecular structure (75% vs 46%) to patient care. Focus group participants highlighted the application of theory in practicals, and analysing their own synthesised drug, as helpful aids to understanding and perceptions of relevance. The majority of students in Level 3 (89%) and Level 4 (96%) agree that the role of the pharmacist requires integration of information from science and practice. Conclusion Improvements in perceptions of relevance and self-reported ability to integrate chemistry components with practice-based components of the course demonstrate the positive impact of course redesign. The increase in the perceived benefit of integration in Level 4, compared to Level 3, correlates with the spiral curriculum programme design within the MPharm at Queen’s University Belfast.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019
Event9th All Ireland Pharmacy Healthcare Conference - Ballymascanlon House Hotel, Dundalk, Ireland
Duration: 15 Oct 201915 Oct 2019


Conference9th All Ireland Pharmacy Healthcare Conference


  • Pharmacy students
  • Integration
  • Chemistry


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