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Student-led clinics help keep University staff healthy

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A male University employee is talking with a female student who is holding a tablet device.

Pharmacy students at the University of Bradford have been gaining hands-on experience helping staff and students check their health.

Pharmacy students at the University of Bradford have been gaining hands-on experience helping staff and students check their health.

Third year pharmacy students have held free health clinics at the new DHEZ building at the University of Bradford as part of student selected assignments. These clinics not only provide a valuable service to the University community but show the potential for providing early clinical exposure for students in university settings that supports the health and wellbeing of staff and students.

Tests performed during the pilot included height and weight measurement; body mass index (BMI) calculation; waist and hip measurements; body fat composition; blood pressure and pulse readings; physical activity and lifestyle assessment. Supervisors performed cholesterol and blood glucose tests. Participants were able to opt out of any test.

Students then interpreted the results and discussed with supervisors, they offered lifestyle advice and health promotion literature and set healthy living goals with the participant. Each participant was provided with a personalised copy of their test results and, where appropriate, person's risk of developing a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years.

Evaluation of the pilot showed that the service was well received by the pharmacy students delivering the service, as well as the wider university community. The findings have been disseminated in the journal Clinical Pharmacist and show the potential for providing early clinical exposure for students in university settings that supports the health and wellbeing of staff and students. The student-led health check service will run again in October 2019 at the DHEZ building and will be open to university's staff and students.

Professor Marcus Rattray, Head, School of Pharmacy & Medical Sciences, University of Bradford said: “We have developed our pharmacy programme to provide opportunities for students to gain ‘real-world’ experience outside traditional classroom settings that include these innovative student-led clinics, as well as working with Bradford Council and in Hospital trusts.  These activities are not only enjoyable for students but they help ensure that our graduates are able to contribute fully to supporting people to adopt healthy lifestyles and manage their own health conditions successfully.”

The pilot scheme was developed and launched by Kristina Medlinskiene and Justine Tomlinson, who are pharmacist doctoral training fellows at the University of Bradford, but also lecture at the University part-time and hold a part-time clinical position at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trusts. They were supported by Dr Kevin Adams, director of student support and engagement, and Dr Jonathan Silcock, senior lecturer in pharmacy practice. The team is thankful to Mrs Catherine Langran, lecturer at University of Reading, for sharing her expertise in setting up student-led health checks.

Kristina Medlinskiene said: "These health checks are a great way for students to develop their clinical and communication skills in a patient-facing setting whilst building confidence. Many of the participants had not previously had a health check and this free accessible student-led clinic allowed them the opportunity to improve their health and wellbeing."

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