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Dana Qiqieh


MPharm Pharmacy

Dana Qiqieh was inspired to study Pharmacy after seeing her mother’s work as an industrial pharmacist in Jordan. When researching universities, Sunderland stood out to her for its high-ranking in pharmacy, affordability and the fact it was a city by the sea. She has enjoyed worked on her dissertation, which involved researching the anticancer properties in medicinal plants, and her placements. Dana plans to work as a Clinical Pharmacist and to get into research one day.

Before coming to university, I was studying International A-levels in Amman, Jordan. During my GCSEs, my mom, who is a remarkable industrial pharmacist in Jordan, took me to work with her one day, which developed my interest first in research. I then started researching more about Pharmacy and the different career opportunities it offers and I decided I wanted to go to university to study an MPharm course after my A Levels. I was the only one in my high school class that wanted to study outside of Jordan and therefore my school could not offer me A2 teachers. So, I took up the challenge and self-taught myself A2 Chemistry, Biology and Maths.

When I was searching for universities to study MPharm, Sunderland stood out for its high ranking in Pharmacy, its affordable tuition fees for an international student, its low-budget living costs and the fact it was a city by the sea. Sunderland presented me with great transport links; the metro which I could easily use to go to Newcastle, buses to go to nearby places like Durham and trains to go to other UK cities such as London. Moreover, the University lecturers are top-notch and have up-to-date knowledge of the clinical and industrial pharmacy fields.

My favourite part of the course was my dissertation. This involved researching the anticancer properties in medicinal plants to develop a medicinal plant garden and outreach centre for the Hylton Castle Restoration project. I loved doing the research, the challenges that it presented me with and I admired how supportive my supervisor was. This project confirmed how much passion I have for research, that I would love to get into following my MPharm degree. Another part of the course I loved was my pharmacy placements in Community, Hospital and GP practice. These placements helped me see how the clinical theoretical part of pharmacy is applied in practice and how much that helps to save patients’ lives.

After graduation, I am going to start my multi-sector pre-registration pharmacy position with NHS Wales in Community, Hospital and GP practice. It is a great opportunity where I will experience the pharmacy field in the three main areas of Clinical Pharmacy. In the future, I am looking forward to continuing working as a Clinical Pharmacist in one of the three areas and hopefully also to get into research.

My advice to future Sunderland pharmacy students would be to use every chance to self-improve; get summer internships, work part-time in a pharmacy or hospital if possible, or volunteer. Get to know the pharmacy world yourself, not based on what people say. Always try to be positive and hard-working; it is not going to be easy, it will require lots of hard work and sacrifices but remind yourself why you are here, how much it will be worth it in the end and never hesitate to ask for help and support from your lecturers and the University support services.

My time at Sunderland was remarkable! The University has enabled me to challenge myself during my course, to get pharmacy and non-pharmacy related internships, to work part-time as a student ambassador, to be a student representative and to also play Basketball with the University Women’s Basketball team.

I will never forget one of my lecturers’ outlook for pharmacy; “Pharmacists are the hidden superheroes” and from the stories I have heard from my lecturers, such as how last minute changes to medicines prescribed have led to saving patients’ lives, I believe that is 100% true.”

Published 15 January 2021

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