Medway School of Pharmacy offers a range of distance learning modules for pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Enhance the medicines optimisation services you offer to patients. Take modules to meet the learning needs of your continuing professional development (CPD). Try out postgraduate study without committing to a whole MSc programme.
When you enrol as an Associate Postgraduate student you can do as many or as few modules as you like. Choose one module at a time on a pay-as-you-go basis from the entire Medicines Optimisation module list. Each individual module is charged separately.
Medicines Optimisation PG Cert, PG Dip, MSc
At the Medway School of Pharmacy it is possible to accrue credits from individual modules up to a maximum of 40 credits. At this point you will have the option to transfer onto the Medicines Optimisation programme. There are two compulsory 10-credit modules which are part of the PG Certificate and which must be taken in order to complete the formal award.
Short Course Programmes – Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Packages
The short course programme offers you the chance to put together individual modules in a combination that matches your CPD requirements in order to accumulate 30 academic credits. You can choose six 5-credit modules or any combination totalling 30 credits.
- A long-term conditions package may include Depression; Type 2 Diabetes; Asthma; Hypertension; COPD; and Ischaemic Heart Disease.
- A Pharmacy Services package may include Consultation and Communication in Practice: Patients as Partners; Minor Ailments: Infections and Infestations; Minor Ailments: Pain; and Patient Monitoring in Practice.
- Have a look at the list of options and compile your own 30-credit package on application.
Successful completion of a short course programme will result in the issue of a certificate of completion and a transcript conferring 30 academic credits
The programme comprises a series of 5 and 10 credit modules that are accessible either via an online learning platform or a website. There are several modules that are delivered either by a mixture of pre-recorded study sessions, quizzes, links to articles, practice assessments and written guidance. There is also a selection of modules, which consist of a mixture of text, resources for self-study and case studies interspersed with suggestions for activities that link the learning directly with practice.
Assessments include online tests, case study analysis, critical appraisal of the literature, written assignments which include short essays, development of service specifications and narratives linking evidence with practice.
Short course students can pick from the entire Medicines Optimisation module list (except for the Research project which is for MSc students only). We have 5 and 10 credit distance learning modules and one 20 credit practical module which involves attendance at the university.
NEW – Clinical Consultation, Assessment and Diagnosis (20 credits)
This new short course entails five study days spread out over a two-month period, followed by one assessment day. It is worth 20 postgraduate credits and is part of the Medway School of Pharmacy (MSoP) suite of short courses. You can take BEFORE or AFTER taking the independent/supplementary prescribing programme or include it in your general CPD. It is open to pharmacists, nurses, paramedics, dietitians, radiographers and physiotherapists. It is especially relevant for pharmacists who would like to access the content of the clinically enhanced module that we have available for hospital, mental health and community trust pharmacists on the Clinically Enhanced Prescribing programme.
Click on the Clinical Consultation, Assessment and Diagnosis page for more information.
NEW – Skills for Dermatology (10 credits)
Skills for Dermatology is an NEW online course from the Medway School of Pharmacy. It is aimed principally at community pharmacists, but the vast majority of the content is suitable for pharmacists in other settings and other healthcare professionals working in primary care who want to enhance their learning in dermatology. As with Skills for MURs you can register and pay online to access learning materials (written and video content and a study guide) and assessment (scenario-based MCQs).
Skills for Dermatology covers history taking, treatment, bacterial, fungal and viral skin infections, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions such as vitiligo.
- Visit the Skills for Dermatology page on this website
- Download the Skills for Dermatology brochure (PDF 190KB)
- Go straight to the Skills for Dermatology online module to register and start studying
Medicines Management in Practice (10 credits)
Using medicines (and the resource they represent) appropriately to improve patient care is at the core of medicines management. Medicines management is a cornerstone of medicines optimisation which is defined as getting the maximum benefits for patients and the best value for money. Medicines optimisation is patient focused, outcome based and clinically led. Medicines management focuses on getting the processes right. This course will help you to understand the key issues that have led the NHS to raise the profile of, and invest in, medicines management services that will result in medicines optimisation. It will also demonstrate how addressing service quality is fundamental to all aspects of medicines management. This is a core module for the Certificate stage of the Medicines Optimisation MSc.
Consultation and Communication in Practice: Patients as Partners (10 credits)
Patients are central to the whole process of medicines management. Medication review may optimise the choice of treatment with respect to clinical outcomes and side-effect profiles, but this will not reap benefits in terms of improved health unless the patient is in agreement with the proposed therapeutic strategy, and takes the chosen medicines as agreed, while adopting appropriate lifestyle changes. This course explores the origins of the concept of adherence and the influences that affect a patient’s health beliefs. The principles and factors that underpin a patient’s decision on whether or not to take a medication mutually agreed between a prescriber and patient as necessary can be factored into your future consultations with your patients, and help assure that adherence is achieved. This is a core module for the Certificate stage of the Medicines Optimisation MSc.
Medication Review in Practice (10 credits)
The prescribing of medication is by far the most frequent medical intervention. However, medicine-related problems are also frequent and can include adverse drug reactions and treatment failures which may lead to more contacts with health care practitioners, admission to hospital or in the worst case scenario, death. Many medicine-related problems can be attributed to inadequate monitoring and follow up, failure to stop or adjust medication when the patient’s condition changes, or provision of inadequate information to the patient on why medicines are needed and how they should be taken or used. This course will help you to develop your skills and knowledge around the provision of a range of medication review services, and the impact they can have on improving a patient’s health outcomes and quality of life. It will help you to make sure patients are receiving appropriate evidence based care and that they are not taking medicines unnecessarily. This is a core module for the Diploma stage of the Medicines Optimisation MSc.
Using Evidence Effectively (10 credits)
Evidence-based medicine is the bedrock of modern clinical practice. A good understanding of how evidence-based medicine underpins the development of national and local guidelines and how it can help inform decisions about individual patient care is crucial. It is also important that health care practitioners are able to analyse evidence critically when it is published and use it to underpin their own clinical decisions and also to answer questions that arise during their work, or are posed to them by other health care practitioners. This course will set the application of evidence-based medicine in the context of medicines management by ensuring you can use search, critical appraisal and communication skills to support prescribing and monitoring decisions. This is a core module for the Diploma stage of the Medicines Optimisation MSc.
Asthma (5 credits)
Asthma is still a killer disease, particularly of young people. An average of three people a day die of the disease whilst 75% of hospital admissions for asthma are avoidable and 90% preventable – so it is a disease where there is plenty of work to be done, to optimise treatment, support patients and encourage them to self-manage their condition. This module will help you to increase your knowledge and skills of the presentation, diagnosis and management of people with asthma so that you can contribute to improving patient care.
Bipolar Affective Disorder (5 credits)
Bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) is a distinctive psychiatric condition characterised by two separate phases: mania and depression. Although in some respects these states are the opposite of each other, mania is not simply extreme happiness, rather it is a state where an individual has extreme over-activity, reduced need for sleep and an increased optimism that ultimately results in their judgement becoming severely impaired. The depression associated with mania in BPAD shares the same symptomatology as major depression (sometimes referred to as unipolar depression). This module will focus on the medicines management of this condition, in particular the choice and monitoring of therapy for the different phases of this illness.Schizophrenia and Psychosis – 5 credits (due 2015)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (5 credits)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases characterised by generally irreversible airflow limitation, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The main symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath and reduced exercise ability, together with cough and sputum production. COPD describes lung damage that is gradual in onset and results in progressive airflow obstruction. This module will help you to develop your skills and knowledge around the provision of evidence-informed clinical care to people with COPD. It is suitable for anyone who wishes to update their knowledge around COPD and who is thinking of undertaking services to this group of patients. It is also suitable for anyone who is working as a non-medical prescriber in another related specialist area but who sees many people with respiratory disease.
Dementia (5 credits)
Dementia is a progressive decline in cognition and functioning manifesting itself as impaired memory, reasoning and communication along with diminishing ability to perform routine activities of daily living. Causes include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia linked to Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia and frontal lobe dementia. It is estimated that 820,000 people suffer from dementia in the U.K. of which 15,000 are under the age of 65.2.
This module looks at the various stages of dementia, from early to late dementia. The use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) and memantine are discussed in the various stages of dementia in relation to guidance given by the National Centre for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The controversial use of antipsychotic drugs for the treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) in late stage dementia are covered with particular reference to the Banerjee report. This module also examines the assessment of patients and the effect of comorbidities and other medication on dementia. It addresses the need for a holistic and palliative care approach to the management of dementia patients.
Depression (5 credits)
Depression is a major cause of impaired quality of life, reduced productivity, and increased mortality. Social difficulties are common (e.g. social stigma, loss of employment, marital break-up). People with depression can experience an exacerbation of pain and distress related to physical diseases. This module is suitable for anyone wishing to update and enhance their knowledge around depression.
It does not cover post-natal depression or bipolar affective disorder. Bipolar affective disorder is covered in a separate module.
Heart Failure (5 credits)
Heart failure is a complex syndrome that results from structural or functional cardiac disorders that impair the ability of the heart to pump blood around the body. Chronic heart failure is a major cause of mortality and morbidity within the UK and is responsible for around 5% of hospital admissions. This module will help you to develop your skills and knowledge around the provision of evidence-based clinical care to patients with Heart Failure.
Hypertension (5 credits)
Hypertension is a key health issue as it is a major modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Its impact on causing future health problems is well established, as are the benefits of treatment. This course will support students to work more closely with patients to enhance the management of raised blood pressure through an improved understanding of the practical management issues and the evidence underpinning the therapeutics.
Ischaemic Heart Disease (5 credits)
Diseases of the circulatory system continue to be the most common cause of premature death in the UK. The prevalence of IHD according to 2014 GP registers was 3.5% and accounted for over 2,300 million patients nationally. 307 million prescriptions were dispensed for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in 2013 and the total cost to the NHS of IHD in 2012/13 was calculated as over £1,598 million pounds. This module will help you to develop your skills and knowledge around the provision of evidence-based clinical care to patients with ischaemic heart disease.
Minor Ailments: Infections and Infestations (10 credits) and Pain and Injuries (5 credits)
Pharmacists have always played an important part in providing support for patients with minor ailments. This is now recognised in the pharmacy contracts for England, Wales and for Scotland. Minor ailment services are one of the enhanced services in England and Wales and an essential part of pharmaceutical services in Scotland.
These two courses in the minor ailment series are suitable for pharmacists and nurses. They consider specific types of minor ailment. One course explores infections and infestations while the other covers pain and injury. Together these two courses cover a large proportion of the conditions covered in a minor ailment service. The learning material provided helps with competent diagnosis and consideration of the clinical and cost-effective options for the management of individual patients presenting with these conditions.
Patient Monitoring in Practice (5 credits) eCourse / Advanced Patient Monitoring in Practice (5 credits) eCourse
Understanding why tests are carried out and interpreting them correctly is vital in terms not only of making the correct diagnosis, but also in monitoring both disease and drug therapy. Patients often ask about tests that they have had or are likely to undergo. These include screening tests, such as cervical smears or mammograms, as well as diagnostic specific tests such as blood tests, X-rays and scans. This module, assessed in two different ways each worth 5 academic credits, will help you to understand the purpose and rationale for testing and monitoring patients and will help you to explain the tests to patients and carers.
Preparing for Prescribing modules: Pharmacology for Prescribing Practice (5 credits) and Numeracy for Prescribing Practice (5 credits)
The P4P short courses have been designed to help pharmacists, nurses and allied health professionals working in all aspects of health care to develop key skills and knowledge in order to prepare them for the non-medical prescribing programme. We have been running our prescribing programme at the Medway School of Pharmacy since 2004 and have qualified over 400 students. We have come to recognise that students from different professions find different elements of the prescribing programme particularly challenging. These P4P short courses are intended to help address these pre-prescribing challenges before applying for the full programme. Choose Numeracy (eCourse) or Pharmacology (eCourse).
Type 1 Diabetes (5 credits) and Type 2 Diabetes (5 credits)
Data from the GP Quality and Outcome Framework for 2016 revealed that the prevalence of diabetes is an increasing problem with 3.6 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes and a further 1 million undiagnosed. Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled from 1.4 million.
Diabetes UK reports that the estimated cost of diabetes to the NHS is £10 billion a year which is 10% of the whole NHS budget. If you combine this with the indirect costs it increases to £23.7 billion and is predicted to rise further to £39.8 billion by 2035/6.
In human costs in England and Wales people with diabetes are 34.4% more likely to die earlier than their peers, in terms of numbers that is 24,000 people or 65 people with diabetes dying early from diabetes every day.
People with type 2 diabetes should have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment, in partnership with their healthcare professionals. Pharmacists are incredibly well placed to offer such support. This module will help you to work with patients to ensure their quality of life is optimised and morbidity and mortality from this disease minimised.
Skills for MURs (5 credits)
Skills for MURs is a PSNC-endorsed course that will enable every community pharmacist to qualify to provide Medicines Use Reviews as an Advanced Service under the 2013 community pharmacy contract for England. Skills for MURs at the Medway School of Pharmacy is a distance-learning course delivered via an online portal. It consists of Learning Materials and Online Assessment. Once you have successfully completed the assessment you will be awarded a certificate from the Universities of Kent and Greenwich. It is worth five academic credits at Master’s level. Please go to: Skills for MURs website to pay and register. (Pharmacists only)