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    I've recently graduated from the Portsmouth MPharm programme and have studies at Portsmouth for the past four years where I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Sure the workload is demanding at times but nothing more than what is expected for an integrated masters degree. Throughout university I've gained new skills such as: how to produce a mouthwash or eye gel, how to differentially diagnose specific conditions such as sinusitis or ringworm, but most importantly how to iron a shirt and cook things other than chicken nuggets. Sure there are some negatives associated with the degree such as the workload which can be demanding at times, personality clashes with certain lecturers, or even the struggle of 9-6 lectures on a frequent basis. But people tend to forget that university isn't school, someone isn't there to spoon feed you all the way to graduation it's down to you. Pharmacy isn't like other courses offered at the Portsmouth as you are learning to become future healthcare professionals who will be advising patients, doctors and carers on medication queries on a daily basis. But what's good about the degree itself?1. Practical based workshops - something Portsmouth prides itself on is its hands on environments there are numerous opportunities to put theory into practice. Portsmouth had a ward simulation suite and a pharmacy live (learning in an actual pharmacy) where you can spend a lot of time addressing pharmacy based situations and working through them as a team or individually; something which very few other universities have to offer. 2. Laboratory classes - again a different approach to practical based learning which incorporate aspects of formulation, microbiology chemistry and pharmacognosy. But all provide an opportunity to apply knowledge you've learnt from lectures. My favourite by far were the formulation labs where we got to make: suppositories, creams, ointments, mouthwashes and eye gels.
    3. Lecturers themselves - Throughout university you will meet numerous lecturers, at Portsmouth the highlights have to be Dr Laight (renal and cardiovascular pharmacology) Dr Norris and Dr Fouch (Formulation and Antimicrobials) and Mr Leech (Pharmacy Practice) to name a few. Additionally to this the majority of pharmacy staff are working based pharmacists within primary and secondary care so tend to be one of the top experts within their field. Additionally to this lecturers will invite guest speaks to talk about specific topics related to pharmacy such as: Mr Fox - Deputy Chief Pharmacist of Southampton hospital, Macmillan Cancer teams or even representatives of Alzheimer's UK to name a few.
    4. The social side of Pharmacy - 'All work and no play makes jack a very dull boy', at Portsmouth there is an individual pharmacy society which organises various social events throughout the year such as: Laserquest, 12 pubs of Christmas and the annual Pharmacy Christmas Ball. All are opportunities to meet other pharmacy students and form friendships which last a lifetime. 5. Finally Support for pre-reg - this has recently started for Portsmouth but they organise free training days and mock exams after you've graduated on various weekends, additionally they provide support from lecturers and 4th years regarding pre-reg applications, whilst setting up primary and secondary care placements as part of the course (though you can apply for many more).Overall I enjoyed my time at Portsmouth and would highly recommend, I developed my understanding of pharmacy and as an individual, formed lifelong friendships which remain strong till this day, but most importantly learnt how to iron a shirt. University these days is perceived as a service you pay a lot of money and you expect the end result, unfortunately this isn't the case and usually requires: hard work, determination and lots of coffee, if your up for the challenge Portsmouth is the place for you. I will always be grateful to Portsmouth as it provided me with the opportunity to better myself and make numerous memories that I will hold close for the rest of my life.
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