The first cohort of students on an innovative pharmacy course at the University of Lincoln are on track to fill a major recruitment gap in the region.
Pharmacists from Lincolnshire Co-op are lending their skills to teach the next generation of professionals and develop the pharmacy (MPharm) course.
Students on the course learn about the patient-facing skills necessary in the job alongside the chemistry of medicines.
The School of Pharmacy resides on the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park, a project led by Lincolnshire Co-op and the University of Lincoln to create a focal point for innovation and investment in science and technology across the region.
Head of Pharmacy at Lincolnshire Co-op, Alastair Farquhar said: “Historically it’s been difficult recruiting pharmacists in the eastern counties of England.
“This new style course at the University of Lincoln is really making a difference and filling a gap as a regional centre for pharmacy education.
“It will provide us with industry-ready pharmacists for the future – we’ve found that although recruitment to the region has been tough, once we get pharmacists to Lincolnshire they stay here.”
The first cohort of students started in September 2014, and will graduate in 2018.
In the first year they study the diseases and medicines relating to babies and children, in the second young adults, in the third middle age and in the fourth year studies focus on the elderly.
Penny Mosley, a Lincolnshire Co-op pharmacist and a teacher practitioner, said: “Because this is a new course we can write it to match the future – combining science with the practical knowledge of how to communicate with patients.
“Being a pharmacist has a much wider skill set these days – there’s been a significant shift from purely medicines supply to wider clinical services.”
Students build on these skills with placements in the society’s community pharmacies, where they can experience a working pharmacy.