Medicines Information Assignment
You are a Medicines Information Pharmacist at Bigtown Royal Infirmary.
Your assignment is to reply to a letter written by a local prescriber (General Practitioner (GP) or hospital doctor). Their letter details a query about a specific patient.
By completing the assignment, students will show that they can:
- Consider a clinical scenario for a specific patient.
- Display good written presentation skills and an awareness of appropriate language when providing medicine information.
- Demonstrate personal knowledge in an area of pharmacy practice.
(see also the links on Blackboard in the Medicines Information Assignment folder)
Before you start your letter –
see the good example available on Blackboard.
- Imagine you are a prescriber awaiting advice to treat your patient.
Our over-riding marking criteria is whether it is useful to the enquirer.
- We expect 15-20 hours of work for this assignment.
- If your letter is longer than 2 pages of A4 – your mark will be zero.
- Font and size. Use Arial 12 Do not save space by using an unacceptably small font that cannot be easily read.
- Be clear and concise in order to fit your material into the allowed space.
- You should begin to consider the query as soon as you receive it, and ask your group tutor for advice if you are struggling. It reflects poorly on Pharmacy students if they are asking for help the week before the deadline.
- Try to differentiate between "must include" and "would like to include". Do not spend half of your letter reviewing the pharmacology of drug A if your question asks for something else such as whether A is better than B.
- Start by checking your BNF, Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs) on medicines.org.uk. Consider any national guidance e.g. from the NPSA (key functions have recently transferred to the NHS Commissioning Board Authority) or NICE.
- As a general guide, consider whether any of the following are relevant to the query:
v Is the indication appropriate?
v Are there any relevant cautions or contraindications?
v Do any of the current drugs cause side effects?
v Are there any relevant interactions (food-drug or drug-drug)?
v Is there any national guidance recommending an action or recommending that a drug is inappropriate?
- Why not show your letter to a friend? They will tell you if any points are unclear and can spot spelling/syntax errors. This is not plagiarism, but what qualified pharmacists do to ensure quality. This is essential if English is not your first language.
- Look at the marking guidance. The TPs are not trying to catch you out, but they are looking for consideration of certain key points within the query.
- Spelling and grammatical errors will reflect badly on your credibility and the content of your letter. As does the use of capital letters for generic drug names, incorrect spelling of drug names and poor use of apostrophes.
- To help you when writing your letter, please see the links on Blackboard. These include a link to the United Kingdom Medicines Information (UKMi) workbook which is used to train Pharmacists on how to answer queries appropriately (see pages C.4 to C.11 which relate to writing letters).