The Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) programme aims to nurture competent graduates with solid knowledge of pharmacy as well as abilities to apply the core knowledge and skills for effective, humane and ethical delivery of pharmaceutical care. They will contribute both to the profession of pharmacy and to the overall health of the patient body by adopting the highest standard of professional practice.
Pharmacy is the health profession that links the basic health sciences with the clinical application of drug treatment. It is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of drugs. Traditionally pharmacy mainly represented the compounding and dispensing of therapeutic agents. However, modern pharmacy now emphasises on the provision of optimal pharmaceutical care to patients. This means the responsible provision of drug therapy to achieve definite outcomes that improve a patient’s life expectancy and/or his/her quality of life.
These outcomes are:
As health care develops towards the individualised rational use of therapeutic agents, the role and responsibilities of pharmacists are of increasing importance.
Pharmacists are essentially the experts on drugs. They work as a part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team to provide quality pharmaceutical care to patients, i.e. providing clinical pharmacy service, recommending appropriate drug choices and monitoring outcomes of drug therapies. Pharmacists are able to practice in a wide variety of areas, including community pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, pharmaceutical industries and regulatory agencies. Pharmacists can specialise in various areas of practice including but not limited to: haematology/oncology, infectious diseases, drug information, critical care, paediatrics, etc.
With the support of Queen Mary Hospital, students studying at HKU enjoy early clinical exposure and also benefit from the inter-professional collaboration of pharmacists and clinicians through teaching in wards and outpatient clinics.
A key characteristic of the programme is to enhance students’ proficiency in providing primary health care services, including patient education. Students have various opportunities to acquire patient counselling and communication skills step-by-step with a gradual increase in the degree of mastery and in the complexity of the situations encountered.
Diversified “fit-for-purpose” teaching pedagogies have been adopted to manifest the specific features of the curriculum. As an area of strength of the Medical Faculty, the problem-based learning (“PBL”) approach is adopted to encourage interdisciplinary inquiry and foster life-long learning skills.
The programme equips future pharmacists who practise in Hong Kong with the knowledge of Chinese Medicine as well as Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM). These include herbal medicines, nutraceuticals, health care products, cosmetics, etc., which are commonly used by many patients in conjunction with Western medicines.
Students of the programme have the opportunity to experience this subspecialty to realise the increasing demand of the local industry for professional pharmacy service. A wide spectrum of topics on the practical aspects related to industrial pharmacy is taught by experts with extensive work experience in the industry.
The new enrichment module will enable students to be involved in a local community service project of their own choices. The module provides them with the chance to engage in activities which benefit different groups in need as future healthcare professionals while enhancing their exposure at the same time.
In addition to local experiences, all our pharmacy students will have the opportunity to participate in an international exchange programme. A strong link has been established with the pharmacy department of different universities and hospitals around the world, including University College London (UK), King’s College London (UK), University of Rouen (France), University of Sydney (Australia), Sojo University (Japan), University of Illinois at Chicago (USA) and many others.
The exchange programme offers a unique educational and cultural experience in addition to further pharmaceutical knowledge. It also helps to broaden the students’ understanding of pharmaceutical and social conditions in different countries. Through the student exchange programme, there will be increased opportunities for improvement in pharmacy education through facilitating students to undertake international professional experiences in research, hospital or community pharmacy, giving them the ability to compare and contrast health care provisions between the visited country and Hong Kong. This experience will enable students to come up with ideas on the future development of the pharmacy profession in Hong Kong.
The programme ensures that students are adequately prepared to provide expert service at the community level through placement openings provided by the biggest community pharmacy chain stores in Hong Kong.
As part of the curriculum, each pharmacy student will have the chance to gain working experience in different settings of pharmacy during term time. Students will rotate between hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy and pharmaceutical industry for at least one week in each setting during the final year of study. In addition, students will have the opportunity to carry out a research project in a specialised area of their choices, including pharmaceutics, pharmacology, pharmacy practice and clinical pharmacy, under the supervision of our academic staff. The research experience will be critical for the future career of pharmacy students in both academic and pharmacy workplace.
The programme offers students with invaluable opportunities of interprofessional learning throughout the 4-year curriculum, including health research project, patient care project and interprofessional team-based learning with students from medicine, nursing and Chinese medicine programmes. These interprofessional learning activities will utilise the expertise of students from different backgrounds and foster cooperation.
The programme has been granted accreditation by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong. Students who have completed a full-time pharmacy degree and one additional year of internship are qualified as registered pharmacists in Hong Kong.
Graduates will be well prepared for continuous postgraduate training through a taught Master of Clinical Pharmacy programme or to pursue academic pharmacy by research postgraduate study.