UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 07 | April
Students counsel community groups
Students are astonished at what they're capable of in innovative course
by Hilary Thomson staff writer
It's good medicine and it's easy to swallow -- that's what community
groups are saying about health-care presentations by Faculty of
To earn 35 per cent of marks in a course called Professional
Practice II, second-year
students in groups of four are instructed to undertake a
as if they were a branch of a pharmaceutical consulting company.
Students are connected with disease support societies, businesses,
or other groups to provide pharmaceutical and health-care information in the
form of reference guides, booklets, videos or workshops.
"This is the first time students engage in hands-on pharmacy
says Pharmaceutical Sciences lecturer Colleen Brady who instructs the course.
"We've found they can handle a lot more than we traditionally give
them -- students
are astonished by what they can actually do."
The course aims to build students' skills in communication,
"The profession is changing to include more consultation with
Brady. "Being in a dispensary counting out pills is only part of the job --
community groups are hungry for accessible advice."
One group of students, working with staff at the pharmacy at
Safeway of Canada's
Kingsway location, recently gave a presentation to about 25 seniors
The group, who dubbed themselves the Diabetx Consulting Group, offered
information and demonstrations on complications of the disease such as kidney
and eye problems. They engaged the audience with a diabetes trivia game and
also created a video patterned after a news report about new diabetes
"The audience thought it was great and very entertaining," says Shirley Yeats,
a health-care counselor at the store's pharmacy who, along with pharmacy
manager Munira Karim, served as project partners.
"The hardest part was breaking down the scientific language of current research
data into understandable information," says group member Hee-Sung Hong.
Talking directly to people who really wanted to learn about their disease and
feeling helpful were some of the project's highlights, according to group
members Kal Biling, Jessie Lau and Jenn Stotyn.
Brady evaluates students' reports to determine research skills and reviews an
in-class presentation. She and community partners assess ability to meet
deadlines, professional conduct and overall quality of the project.
Other project topics included smoking cessation, eating disorders,
cholesterol and effectiveness of Chinese herbs. Brady uses a lottery system
to match student groups to projects. Students reprise their presentations to
classmates at the end of the course.
The majority of the 130-140 students who graduate from the faculty each year
go on to community pharmacy practice according to Marguerite Yee,
associate dean, Undergraduate Programs.