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Student e-newsletter – January 2021

In this issue, we hear from students on juggling university deadlines amidst a global pandemic and how they have overcome obstacles while studying from home. We also have some interesting student-related stories, a message on the importance of following the lockdown rules, and share how you can become a PDA Student Rep. 

Thu 28th January 2021 The PDA

Welcome to the latest PDA Student Update

In this issue, we hear from students on juggling university deadlines amidst a global pandemic and how they have overcome obstacles while studying from home. We also have some interesting student-related stories, a message on the importance of following the lockdown rules, and share how you can become a PDA Student Rep.

If you would like to share your story, or if you have a key topic that you feel we should include in a future mailing, please email your thoughts to: We welcome all feedback.

Please share this mailing with your peers and let them know that PDA membership is FREE for students.

Advice to students on lockdown rules

It has come to the PDA’s attention that pharmacy students who breach Covid rules may be subject to a misconduct process which could result in a discontinuation of studies. We would like to remind our student members that as they are healthcare professionals, there is perhaps a greater expectation on them to stick to the rules.

The National Lockdown: Stay at Home guidance states: “If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. For those students who are eligible for face to face teaching, you can meet in groups of more than your household as part of your formal education or training, where necessary. Students should expect to follow the guidance and restrictions. You should socially distance from anyone you do not live with wherever possible.”

Learn more about the guidance document here.


Keeping on track: A pharmacy students’ advice on how to stay focused during a pandemic

In our latest member voice article, Anjuli Bali, a third year MPharm Student at the University of Huddersfield shares her experience of struggling to study from home and how she overcame her obstacles. Anjuli also details how being a PDA Student Rep has helped her to find her voice and shares what support is available to fellow students.

“Originally, I thought the PDA were only there for you when something goes wrong and you need help to get out of a certain situation but this is not the only time they can help. The PDA offer support and advice whenever you need it and have always been there for me whenever I needed something addressed within my university. I would definitely encourage any student to become a PDA member. Membership is FREE for students so why wouldn’t you? If you have done so already, also become a rep. You definitely won’t regret it!”


A pharmacy student looks back on 2020

By Zahra Nawaz, third year student at University of Wolverhampton
Last year was no doubt a difficult year for us all. As students, we juggled university deadlines with part time work all whilst living through a global pandemic.

With the multiple lockdowns and restrictions, we all had to try and find a new structure to our daily routine. Instead of being in a class with peers we were studying in isolation which took away the experience of university. Life as we knew it was upended.

There were, however, some positives to come out of the year:

  • As face-to-face classes were no longer an option, lecturers pivoted and moved to providing support and learning opportunities virtually. They were always available to contact if you required help with your studies and it highlighted the positive impact technology can have.
  • Despite students being in different parts of the country, we were able to come together for lectures through online platforms which re-created the sense of unity.
  • It was also warming to see community spirit as streets of people clapped for the NHS whilst pharmacies did everything they possibly could to ensure medication was delivered to vulnerable patients. Seeing the strengths of humanity in the news reassured us that we are not alone.

Here are a few hints and tips for studying during a pandemic. 

1.    Keep a schedule
2.    Prioritise your tasks
3.    Organise your notes
4.    Look after your mental health
5.    Connect with other students
6.    Stay hydrated and eat balanced meals
7.    GET FRESH AIR!! Even if it’s just a walk around the neighbourhood when there are strict restrictions in place.

A huge thank you to all key workers for all their hard work in these difficult times.

Share the PDA student flyer with your peers

Download our student flyer and please share it with your peers so that they can also benefit from FREE PDA membership and support.


Update on the Initial Education and Training Reforms

Late last year, the GPhC agreed on the overall direction of the review of standards for the Initial Education and Training (IET) of pharmacists and the steps to be taken to finalise and implement the standards.

The PDA welcomed the radical overhaul of IET to make it fit for purpose and to a foundation period which helps to develop the clinical skills that pharmacists will need in the future.

Click the button below to share your views.


PDA supports Wolverhampton students to have their voices heard

The PDA was pleased to support student members at Wolverhampton School of Pharmacy recently. The students were concerned that the university did not act more promptly to cancel face-to-face exams in January, in light of the Covid lockdown. The PDA worked with the students to urge Wolverhampton University to reconsider their approach to the exams in line with the other UK universities.

One student commented on the experience: We would have had to travel to and from the exam hall with some students coming from across the UK. Many of the students live at home with compromised and elderly family members, the majority of the students are also of a BAME background, putting us at higher risk. This caused us to worry for our safety and that of our loved ones.”

The students supported each other and collectively raised their concerns to a higher level within the university and publicly, contacting newspapers and local MPs. The PDA was pleased that the university then cancelled face-to-face exams and adopted an online approach. As a result of this, the students gained confidence and new skills and realised that collectively, they have a student voice. With support from the PDA, the students worked to protect their health and well-being and prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

Another student shared the following feedback: “Thank you for all your help and support. We deeply appreciate all that you’ve done for us. If anything, this experience has cause myself and the rest of the students to have a deeper understanding, as well as trust and faith in the PDA. Many students have voiced their interest in becoming PDA student reps as a result of your persistence and support.”

PDA donations to Pharmacist Support surpass £110,000

Following a contribution in December 2020, the total amount donated under the PDA’s charity partnership pledge to Pharmacist Support, established in 2018, has now surpassed £110K.

Pharmacist Support is an independent, trusted charity providing a wide variety of support services to pharmacists and their families, former pharmacists and pharmacy students. They listen, without judgement, and compassionately encourage and empower people to create positive change.

PDA Chairman Mark Koziol said: “The PDA exists to support pharmacists when they are in difficulty and Pharmacist Support provides much needed complimentary help to that which we can provide as a defence association and trade union. Because of conditions caused by COVID-19, many more pharmacists, pre-regs and even pharmacy students are facing greater levels of desperation, burnout and hardship than we can ever remember.

As an organisation that provides direct support to many individuals in distress, the PDA recognises just how much more help is needed. We are proud to be a regular and significant financial supporter of this important charity.”

Access the charity’s FREE wellbeing resources here.


PDA celebrates reaching over 1,500 members across four equality networks in the first year

The PDA recently celebrated reaching more than 1,500 memberships across the organisation’s four equality networks within the first year of their activity, demonstrating the importance to pharmacists of equality at work.The PDA opened the first of four equality networks on 1 January 2020, when it relaunched the National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP). That 100-year-old organisation had been in decline and was at risk of disappearing, but since its relaunch as part of the PDA, it now has more than 700 members.

In April 2020, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Equality Act, the PDA added three additional Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Networks for their growing membership. The Ability, BAME and LGBT+ Networks are open to all and we also welcome allies who will support the networks.

Would you like to become a PDA Student Rep?

Are you interested in getting more involved in helping to give pharmacy students a voice? Find out how you can get involved by heading to the Student Rep section of the PDA website and registering your interest.

The PDA encourages members at each pharmacy school to have a Student Rep because your views and issues are valued and important.


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