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Mohammed Ahmad Tarik Altaee

Baghdad, Iraq

MPharm Pharmacy

For Mohammed Ahmad Tarik Altaee, the University of Sunderland was the perfect destination to study pharmacy because he knew he would develop his academic knowledge, have use of modern equipment and improve his life skills here. Mohammed is improving his work experience by working in a Lloyds pharmacy and volunteering in Sunderland Royal Hospital, but doing a foundation training year in a hospital pharmacy and completing a PhD are next on his list.

When I was looking for a university to study pharmacy, three points brought my attention and interest to the University of Sunderland: first is the big success that graduate students achieve upon graduation as about 95% of graduates are either employed or continuing to further studies. I found this to be a very high rate which reflects the quality of teaching at the University and the trust that employers and other educational institutes have in the graduate of this university. The second reason that made me decide to study pharmacy at this university was that when I was studying A Levels, I was finterested in advanced technology that can be used in research in biology, physics and chemistry.

I searched the University's website and I found that the University has been making great investments to develop its facilities and especially lab equipment. Millions of pounds have been used to buy expensive equipment for research purposes such as the electron microscope, HPLC, gas chromatography, UV spectrophotometer and many other complicated types of equipment used in research. Finally, the University of Sunderland has the Employability and Enterprise Hub whose job is to develop your life skills. The Employability and Enterprise Hub improves your CV, personal statement, help you find and apply for jobs and develop your interview skills beside other activities that they run. 

Before university, I was studying A Levels (chemistry, math, biology and physics) in London. I had a great passion for the subjects that I was studying during A Levels and I wanted a course that can combine all these four topics together, but I also wanted to work closely with people and help to improve their health as I was also working in an elderly care home. That is why I wanted to continue my education and follow my passion to understand more about the science that I have established during A Levels and have the knowledge and the ability to participate in improving patients’ health.

I found studying pharmacy at the University to be a brilliant chance to use the basics in chemistry and biology that I have studied to understand how medicines work and how they affect their targets. I also wanted to use the basics in physics and math to further understand how medical equipment like MRI, CT-scan and others work. For those reasons, I decided to continue my passion to develop my understanding and gain the knowledge that I am interested in.

During my three years at the University, I found the course to be really interesting. The special thing about pharmacy in this university is that we apply what we learn in lectures to real-life scenarios during the course. We have two types of sessions where we apply what we have learned which are ward session and clinical skills classes. The ward session is a room that is designed to mimic the structure of hospital wards where we have SimMans which are simulator patients that can be set to mimic a specific medical condition.

During the session, SimMans are set to have a medical condition that we have studied in the lecture and we are expected to treat it based on the treatment guidelines that we have studied. If the treatment is successful, it will appear on the monitoring screen. For the clinical skills classes, we learn how to take the medical history of a patient effectively to make sure that the patient gets the best care. We study in lectures about the symptoms that the patient can have for a specific disease. For the clinical skills classes, we learn how to ask questions appropriately to obtain specific information to make an educated diagnosis of the medical condition present. We also learn the professional standards that are expected from us as healthcare professionals.

In addition to that, I found the teaching staff to be very approachable and most importantly, they always welcome anyone that wants to learn from their experiences to succeed in their career. For example, my tutor once arranged for me to meet a PhD student so I can learn from her experience of applying to community pharmacy and industry placements. 

For any student that is going to start at the University, my advice is to find students that are in higher levels and ask them to direct you and help you in finding resources and materials to help you with your assignments and understanding lectures. Remember that these students have already done what you will do and have a great experience in what you are starting. In addition, the pharmacy staff are really helpful and always welcoming in their offices in case you didn’t understand what was explained in the lecture or if you have a general enquiry.

I am currently aiming to gain as much work experience as possible during my remaining time as a student at the University. Currently, I am working in one of the Lloyds pharmacies and volunteering in Sunderland Royal Hospital to work in its wards and emergency department. After graduation, I am planning to do my pre-registration year in a hospital pharmacy and after that, I want to study PhD on niosomes as I have developed a great knowledge on them during my study time at this university.

I had a great experience at the University where I made a lot of friends, gained plenty of knowledge, had many work experiences and improved my life skills like communication and writing." 

Published 23 May 2019

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