Located on the 3rd floor of the new veterinary medicine space in rue de Bruxelles, the user-friendly room is divided into two spaces: on one side, a classic seminar room; on the other, a pharmacy, with its sign, a counter, a computer and real sales software, various cupboards and shelves (for over-the-counter medicines) as well as a Kardex (for prescription medicines) where real boxes of medicines (empty, of course) are displayed. Romain Siriez and Constant Gillot, the enthusiastic promoters of this beautiful project, had the opportunity to give a second life to this furniture recovered from a pharmacist in Lens who was retiring.  With the help of their colleagues from the Department of Pharmacy, technologists, assistants and academics, as well as numerous students, they took on the roles of movers, carpenters and electricians to bring this project to fruition.

The aim of this educational pharmacy was to develop students' soft skills through role-playing and flipped classes.

A pharmacist is not a "box seller"!

The pharmacist must also welcome and accompany his patient, pay attention to the verbal and non-verbal aspects and develop a relationship of trust with him, by giving him advice and explanations on the reasons for and the elements that make up his treatment.  The pharmacist has a front-line position as he is the last barrier between the patient and his medication. It is therefore essential that he/she is able to prevent the occurrence of adverse effects, to advise patients on appropriate treatments or to detect inappropriate drug and food interactions.

The role plays of the specialised pharmacology course

Based on concrete clinical cases, role plays are organised.  The students are provided with a range of information such as the patient's pathologies and medication history.  They then play the role of the pharmacist, facing a patient interpreted by a student or an assistant. The "Pharmacist" must manage the dispensing of the prescribed medication, integrate it into the patient's medication history and provide appropriate advice. The student is obviously not left alone to act in front of the patient, the student spectators can intervene at any time in the role play to help or complete a piece of information.

In these role-plays, we will not only analyze and help the students to improve their ability to know the drug, but a basic prerequisite also to be behind the counter of a pharmacy. We are also going to make them aware of the evolution of their profession with a view to providing more and more services to patients, whether it be through testing, vaccination, blood sampling in the near future.

The students present tell us about their experience: "It's a great project!  We are confronted with reality and frankly, we are a bit stressed but what is really a plus is the mutual help that is developing between us.  It's a great way of putting our future job into practice before our Master 2 internship. We put theory into practice. We learn to explain medical vocabulary in layman's terms so that the patient can understand. And what's more, it's a friendly place where we can come and study.

The evolution of the nomenclature around patient care should be seen by pharmacists as an opportunity to be an essential actor in health care, in the same way as the general practitioner, with whom they must, in addition to home care nurses, share their expertise in the service of the patient's well-being.

Towards the pharmacy of tomorrow

Through the exercises, students will develop their professional skills and become aware of the importance of collaboration between health care professionals, be they doctors, physiotherapists, home nurses, veterinarians, etc. Moreover, technologies are evolving, and the profession will have to adapt.   Information sessions for patients will be necessary to educate them on the proper use of their treatments. This is what is known as "health literacy", therapeutic education to promote patient compliance. This could be the subject of webinars, organised jointly with doctors and pharmacists for patients.

The teaching pharmacy, which will be inaugurated on 10 March 2022 and will hold its first course the following day, is not a place that is frozen in time.  It is a pharmacy which, like the profession of pharmacist, will evolve to train students to meet the demands of tomorrow's pharmacy.

The two researchers are also appealing: "If you have any empty medicine boxes at home, we're interested!"

Contact: Romain Siriez and Constant Gillot