Final year Pharmacy student Sophia has been involved with PAL over the last two years. She talks about her experiences as an attendee and as a PAL leader.
“Sometimes, the students came up with some extra ideas and valid answers that I'd not thought about. So, after doing this whole PAL scheme, I've actually learned a lot from them as well!”
— Sophia Yeh, MPharmacy
What made you decide to get involved with the PAL scheme?
I used to attend PAL sessions in my third year. After going to PAL sessions, I was able to recognise my weaknesses in each clinical topic in advance of the revision period. I also found the sessions useful as I got the chance to speak to the students from the year above. They gave me some helpful advice and tips about exams and finding a summer placement.
It's very likely that I'll have to be a tutor and need to train staff in the future. For example, each junior pharmacist (known as pre-reg) is assigned a tutor, who's an experienced pharmacist, to facilitate their learning. Also, I may need to train other pharmacy technicians and assistants. I thought it'd be a brilliant idea to get involved with the PAL scheme because I wanted to understand how to facilitate someone's learning.
What has been the most positive aspect of being a PAL leader?
In PAL sessions we reviewed counselling skills and clinical knowledge that I'd studied previously so it was helpful revision for me. It's absolutely worth going over these materials, as I'm about to start working in a real practice and these skills are absolutely essential for my role.
What has surprised you about the scheme/ something you were not anticipating?
Sometimes, the students came up with some extra ideas and valid answers that I'd not thought about. So, after doing this whole PAL scheme, I've actually learned a lot from them as well!
What skills have you developed /further developed as a result of being a PAL leader?
Time management skills - I had to fit planning and delivering the PAL session in with a hectic final year timetable!
Leadership skills - how to lead a team of people even when I didn't know them well in the beginning.
The ability to work flexibly and innovatively - I had to adjust plans in order to adapt to the situation at the time.
Would you encourage others to get involved with the PAL scheme?
Yes! Especially students who see themselves in a management role or an educational role in their future career.
If you had to sum up PAL in three words, what would they be?
Fun, positive and fruitful.