Why the contextualisation of chemistry in the MPharm curriculum is needed
Chemistry is a core subject area in the MPharm degree programme. The indicative syllabus1 specifies chemistry directly in drug design and discovery, pharmaceutical chemistry and analysis, drug identification and drug synthesis. Without a solid chemistry foundation, pharmacy students are unable to integrate the pharmaceutical importance of drug structures, drug interactions and side effects fully, which is critical in terms of ensuring patient safety. The General Pharmaceutical Council's education standards for initial education and training of pharmacists will drive future MPharm curriculum development in all UK schools of pharmacy. These standards will each have an individual set of associated criteria and also require evidence from a training provider to demonstrate that the standards have been met to a satisfactory level. In the area of curriculum development, it will be important to structure learning opportunities in order to provide an integrated experience of relevant science and pharmacy practice. So, how can schools of pharmacy integrate science with pharmacy practice, particularly in the first year of the MPharm? This concept was considered during the design of the MPharm curriculum at the School of Pharmacy, University of Hertfordshire, resulting in the integration of science and pharmacy practice between modules in a year of study (horizontal integration) and linking modules of different years of study (vertical integration). Chemistry is a subject that underpins pharmacy and this article will outline how the contextualisation of chemistry (and science in the broader sense) effectively integrates it with pharmacy practice.