From collaborating on population-based research, to taking the reins of a number of teaching sessions, Dr Rowan Yemm’s timetable at Cardiff University is vast and varied. Here, she tells us more about her responsibilities as Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice, Associate Course Director for the Independent Prescribing programme, and Continuing Professional Development Lead for the school.

PhD / Background

I graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2009 and, after undertaking my pre-registration year in Hospital Pharmacy, returned to embark on a PhD exploring interface issues and hospital discharge. My doctoral research focused on communication issues, cultural differences and working practices across primary and secondary care. As part of my studies I was involved in the development and early application of the 2012 Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s transfer of care guidance.

Cardiff Role

I was appointed to the post of Lecturer at Cardiff University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2013, where I started my teaching career leading and developing first and second-year undergraduate clinical and professional modules. I taught Dispensing Classes, Law and Ethics, Communication Skills, and Responding to Symptoms across the undergraduate curriculum. This was through a combination of lectures, workshops and practice-based activities, and with over 120 students in each year, I had a busy timetable!

In 2019 I joined the postgraduate teaching team at the school, led by Dr Karen Hodson, supporting the delivery of the Independent Prescribing programme. Currently we have two cohorts of students each year, starting in September and January, who learn through a combination of taught study blocks and time spent in practice under specialist clinical practitioners.

My role involves liaising with external expert speakers to arrange teaching sessions, planning assessments and providing feedback, and tutoring students through their journey to become a prescriber. I particularly enjoy teaching a Consultation Skills session in which we ask students to volunteer experiences which haven’t gone so well in practice and use them to design a scenario with patient actors, enabling them to play out the consultation again in a safe environment, and reflect on and improve their performance.

I also teach Health Psychology and Behaviour Change within the school and particularly enjoy using novel teaching methods to illustrate these concepts. In year one students are introduced to adherence where they are invited to take a week-long course of ‘antibiotics’ (sweets) at different dosing schedules and report and reflect on their experience. In year two the students identify a health-related behaviour which they attempt to change using a before and after diary to record their activities, including any barriers faced. These experiences help them to gain insight into the patient’s perspective.

I have recently been appointed Lead for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses in the school. Working to complement Health Education and Improvement Wales, we are currently evaluating and co-ordinating our short course provisions, and developing our CPD portfolio to include activities to support the changing pharmacy and healthcare workforce.

Research Role

My post is on the Teaching and Scholarship career pathway at the university which means that alongside teaching I conduct scholarship activities to inform and enrich my teaching. I supervise both undergraduate and postgraduate research projects, including a co-supervision of a PhD student funded by a Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS 2).

For these I consult with external collaborators and practice stakeholders to explore current issues facing the pharmacy workforce and meeting the needs of patients.

I am part of the Medicines Optimisation and Healthcare Outcomes (MOHO) group in the school, which is formed of academic staff members who work closely together on health-related research themes. We meet regularly to share good practice, discuss ideas and proposals, and identify potential collaborations.

Collaboration

Through MOHO, I met Dr Lisa Hurt, a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Population Medicine in the School of Medicine, also at Cardiff University, who was involved with the development of the HealthWise Wales platform (www.healthwisewales.gov.wales). At the time I had been working on a project investigating patients’ perceptions of the price of medicines and had identified the need to expand this project across the general public in Wales.

HealthWise Wales aims to provide a platform for conducting population-based research in Wales, by establishing a cohort of individuals who have consented to be contacted with information on research studies that they may wish to contribute to. It is used to collect longitudinal data from participants on self-reported exposures and outcomes, and researcher-led questionnaires relating to five research themes (impact of social inequalities on health and wellbeing; environment, neighbourhood and health; maintenance of health and wellbeing in the working age population; wellbeing in later life; and innovation in health and social care services).

Data can be anonymously record-linked to routinely-available healthcare data.

Through our collaboration, we published an online survey to collect data on public perceptions of adding medication prices to dispensing labels, and whether this may serve to reduce medicines wastage and affect how people use their medicines. This has received over 6,000 responses that are currently being analysed.

Other

I currently work part-time at the university on Mondays and Thursdays, having recently started a family. Alongside this I have continued to locum in an independent community pharmacy in Gloucestershire since 2012, recently stopping temporarily to spend more time at home.

Working in practice alongside my role at the university has enabled me to stay up-to-date with developments in the profession and use practice examples to enhance my teaching.