My fourth year at University College London School of Pharmacy went by incredibly quickly, more so than any other year. It was also very different compared to previous years and incorporated a wide range of teaching methods (such as learning with medical students, shadowing pharmacists at various hospital, OSCE’s, writing therapeutic frameworks, lectures, super-learning afternoons, option modules, asceptic production and much more).
Time management was crucial for the final year. Keeping a diary will help! Set yourself personal targets prior to the deadlines so that you have time to check your work and avoid last minute panicking. Start early in the year with writing your therapeutic frameworks!
With regards to revision, I would recommend that students going into fourth year produce their own tailored drug formulary and to start memorising this as early as possible in order to aid learning specific details of the wide range of medicines included.
In my fourth year, I wrote therapeutic frameworks on COPD, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes and epilepsy. These are common conditions and were interesting to research. However, at first, I disliked having to write four therapeutic frameworks because it took such a long time as there was much information available that sometimes proved challenging to summarise, and also a few sections of our frameworks seemed not very relevant.
You will have assessments based on your frameworks so the more time spent on them, the better equipped you will be for both the OSCE and the Course G exam – my advice for this would be to know your frameworks very well to prevent time looking through them during the exam, to enable yourself to have plenty of time to answer the questions in detail.
As part of my course G lectures we covered topics such as minor ailments, safety, high risk drugs to name a few. I also liked my final session of sterile production, and the super-learning afternoons where different speakers who had much clinical expertise came to share their experiences.
Lastly, fourth year is the final year of university as a student before entering the world of work and thus I would encourage students to make the most of it by doing things that they enjoy with either friends or individually, and to treat / reward themselves at various times during the year for all their hard work. I would also advise all years, but especially fourth years, to persevere and put there 100% into everything they do in order to be successful, achieve outstanding results but more importantly become competent, knowledgeable and well-rounded pharmacists!
(Pre-registration pharmacist at Whipps Cross Hospital)