What have you learnt from your work experience?
From my work experience, I recognised the importance of effective communication both within the MDT and between pharmacists and patients. I think that being able to adapt how you communicate, depending on the situation and to whom is very much an art form, for example, it can be difficult to obtain a full history from a patient but this is vital information as 80% of diagnosis are made from history taking.
My work experience also emphasised the importance of teamwork in the medical profession, as pharmacists work alongside a number of healthcare professionals who have very useful input especially at multidisciplinary meetings.
Name two medical conditions which have decreased in prevalence over the last 50-100 years?
Public health campaigns and medical research have allowed great progress to be made with reducing the prevalence of certain diseases. In 1988, the largest health initiative in history was begun to eradicate polio in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. It was greatly successful, and led to a tremendous decrease in polio prevalence across the world, particularly in Asia. Smallpox is another disease whose prevalence has been decreased so much that it was declared eradicated. In 1980, an immunisation campaign led by the World Health Organisation saw an aggressive approach to eradicating this viral disease, and ultimately was successful.
If you could be any medical instrument, which would you be?
I would be a thermometer, as I believe it to be a simple tool that can tell one a lot about a patient’s condition, used as much in community pharmacy as in hospital settings.
You are required to give a patient 1.2g of a new chemotherapy agent Co-Algonate. This comes as a 10% (w/v) solution in bags containing 500ml. What volume of the 500ml bag would you need to give?
1% = 1g in 100ml
10% = 10g in 100ml
10g = 100ml
1.2g = 12ml
(The size of the bag in this case is irrelevant information)
Why did we ask you to complete this calculation task?
Mathematic calculations are essential in pharmaceutical practice with everything from calculating drug dosages to a patient’s BMI. Additionally, when calculating drug dosages, small calculating errors can have significant negative medical consequences ranging from excess side effects and complaints to significant morbidity and possible mortality.
Additionally, safe prescribing and calculations is the responsibility of all MDT professionals ranging from doctors and nurses to pharmacists and even medical students who may be present in an observatory capacity, but should still be qualified to highlight any medication errors observed.