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Undergraduate communications skills - Pharmacy

Undergraduate communications skills - Pharmacy

The quality of patient conversations is an essential part of ensuring correct uptake of prescribed treatments.

Course outline

This course provides undergraduates with a set of tools and techniques to support them on their journey to becoming an effective pharmacist. It has the flexibility to accommodate a range of individual learning needs, and ensures a progressive challenge as students move through the course.

The drama led approach uses meaningful, reality based environments and situations to join up core elements of the curriculum, effectively applying their technical learning, using practical interactive skills.

The course has three principle modules supporting students across the final three years of their qualification.

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At glance
  • workshop-icon Style
    Multiple workshops
  • time-icon Learning time
    2days x 3
  • mask-icon Method
    LIVE Learning
  • coaching-icon Coaching

Learning activities

Facilitated learning on communication theory is supported by observing and interacting with a series of scenarios presented through drama led interactions. These are designed to reflect their current knowledge of pharmacy and basic communication skills. Through unpacking the different scenarios they will explore how their own communication styles and behaviours maybe altered or enhanced to achieve better outcomes.

Working with skills coaches they will immediately put the skills they have observed and commented on into practice in over-the-counter conversations and consultative pharmacy conversations.

Level one introduces individual communications styles and the art of flexing to that of others, it covers how to approach and manage patient conversations and develops the practical skills to conduct over the counter consultations, and building confidence in handling patients.

Level two builds on the level one learning by developing communication techniques to promote responsive questioning, active listening and assertive communication. Participants explore how to handle more challenging patient conversations and actively practise moving from professional expert to listening pharmacist.

Level three is designed to keep pace with the technical knowledge of student in their final year, enabling them to practise medium level diagnosis interviews, compliance with treatment instructions and asking more probing questions. Participants also prepare for their journey into the job market with interview skills practice.


By the end of the workshop participants have increased confidence in their own communication capability in dealing with consultative patient conversations. They will be able to apply their curriculum theory in a practical patient facing scenario and have developed skills for carrying out comprehensive over-the-counter conversations. Students will have also had the opportunity to prepare and practise their interview responses, building on feedback received to improve their personal impact.

Supporting Theory
  • The GROW Model – Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore
  • Coaching Skills, attributes, questioning styles and listening techniques for coaching
  • Discovery Learning – Jerome Bruner 1961

The sessions delivered to our new entrant MPharm students gave them an intense and stimulating experience which will enable them to participate more fully in their first experiential learning in a Pharmacy. The sessions were delivered in a highly professional manner, encouraging enthusiastic participation from the students. Feedback from the class has been overwhelmingly positive and we are exploring ways to extend this form of learning, tailored to each year of our MPharm programme.

Anne Boyter, MPharm Director

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