Life as an international Pharmacy undergraduate at Bradford

Bryan has just finished his first year of studying MPharm here at The University of Bradford, he tells us what it’s like to study Pharmacy at Bradford.

Wing Yip (Bryan) Tsui, MPharm

Hello everyone, my name is Bryan and I originate from Hong Kong. I have been in the UK since year 7 and enrolled at university in 2018.

During my first year at university, I participated in the ultimate frisbee sports team, as well as doing volunteering work (student-led language classes and ambassador work to assist pre-sessional students to settle into university). In my spare time, I watch a wide variety of documentaries such as Panorama, Flight Investigation and advanced surgery-related documentaries. I also listen to classical music.

MPharm at Bradford

The reason that I decided to choose the MPharm degree was because of my curiosity about human physiology and the biochemistry interaction between drugs and cells. The most interesting topic out of all was the pharmacology of medicine (how a drug inhibits/activates a certain part of the cells to achieve therapeutic effect).

I chose the Bradford MPharm because of the Team-Based Learning (TBL) teaching style compared to traditional lecture style. I also enjoy using the state of the art iGene table and human simulation with 3D visual anatomy. The physiology dissection Anatomage Table allows us to move from 2D anatomy in a textbook to 3D visual. Furthermore, the integrated sandwich course offers an opportunity to get a taste of community or hospital pharmacy for the Pre-registration training before qualifying as a pharmacist.

My typical day at university

As a pharmacy student at the University of Bradford, my timetable changes on a weekly basis. A typical day in my life is as follows:

  • 8:15am- Get up and prepare myself for my 9am lecture
  • 9am-10am- Typical lectures last for an hour
  • 10am-12pm- I do an application exercise where I sit down with my teammate to discuss a scenario based on a topic that we studied by reading the learning materials given prior to the session. We will have approx. 15-20 minutes to come up with an answer then submit for assessment. Afterwards, the lecturer will perform a round table to ask a member of the team to speak on the microphone to the whole lecture theatre to present their rationale to the answer and open a discussion with the other teams as well
  • 12pm-1pm- I will take an hour lunch. Often, I will go back to my accommodation to cook some quick lunch such as pasta and protein. However, sometimes I will only have 30 minutes – 45 minutes before the next lecture. In that case, the university restaurant offers hot and cold lunches, with sandwich meal deals
  • 2pm-4pm- I have a laboratory session with an experiment that was related to the topic that I recently studied e.g. synthesising paracetamol/ measuring how fast a chemical reaction is by taking small samples at regular intervals and using formulas
  • 4pm-6pm- I will head to the library to tidy up notes that I made during the lecture/application exercise session by converting it to a word document. I find it very useful for my exams. Also, I will begin to read the learning materials for the next unit within a particular module in order to avoid my work piling up. You will be surprised at how fast 2 hours go by.

I also have other sessions, which I have listed below:

  • Individual and Team Reading Assurance Test (iRAT) – this is a weekly/fortnightly assessment to test your understanding of the learning material that was given prior to the assessment. You will first do an assessment that consists of 10-20 multiple choice questions, then submit it individually before completing it as a team. You will then receive instant feedback at the end of the session and have the chance to ask any questions to the lecturer.
  • Interprofessional learning- this is a session where you head to other universities to carry out peer discussion with students who are studying medicine, midwifery, physiotherapy or nursing courses to simulate multi-disciplinary team (MDT) discussion that is carried out daily in a hospital setting.
  • Work-Based Learning (WBL)- In first year, you will be allocated to work in a pharmacy for two days and in a hospital for one day, by shadowing a pharmacy technician on a ward to see their daily tasks.

Future job roles

In the future, I wish to get into either a Primary care network to work as a Primary care pharmacist or to become a hospital pharmacist. The reason that I want to get into these two roles is that I like to have a face to face interaction with the patient to discuss their health conditions.

The TBL teaching style offers a great opportunity for public speaking and simulated consultation between patients and healthcare professionals. The TBL style has definitely helped me to build upon my communication and collaboration skills, as well as my decision making, which is crucial to a pharmacist on a daily basis.

Places to go in Bradford

My favourite spot in Bradford is definitely the Ice Rink and the Hollywood Bowl. Even though I had not been ice skating before I came to university, it is a great place where you can gather with your friends to have some great fun after a long day at university.

The National Science and Media Museum next to the Ice Rink is a must-see place in Bradford. It has an on-site IMAX cinema, as well as some cool science information to look out for, as well as an arcade machine from the 1990s. Furthermore, Bradford is an accessible location to Leeds, Manchester, Blackpool and London which offers direct trains to these cities.

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