Year 4 Pharmacy: Critical Analysis and Communication Projects on Environmental Sustainability

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Environmental Sustainability (ES), Guest Authors, Teaching and Learning | 0 comments

Blog by Dr Sally Freeman, Division of Pharmacy & Optometry 

Critical Analysis and Communication (CAC) projects provide 4th year students an opportunity to develop critical analysis skills, as well as developing their communication skills. There are a range of activities in CAC which includes an ‘Ask the pharmacist’ Q & A where the student answers a plausible query in 10 minutes with just one slide. In 2022-23 The environmental sustainability questions included: 

  • “I have heard that CFCs may be in my asthma inhaler. What are CFCs and why should I be concerned?”  
  • “Is it OK to flush my waste medicines down the sink?”  
  • “Please can you advise how to recycle medicine packaging, especially empty blister packs?”  
  • “Chris Packham expressed concerned about the environmental life cycle of medical waste, especially during COVID. Can you explain this to me?”  

Other students then proceeded to complete a protocol project where they designed an intervention to test an unmet Environmental Sustainability (ES) need, however time did not permit them to test the intervention. Topics in 2022-23 were: 

  • Investigating the impact of a climate coping educational intervention on Climate Anxiety scores in Pharmacy students at The University of Manchester 
  • The impact of climate change on individual health: respiratory complications 
  • The environmental impact of medicines: investigating the effect of progesterone on zebrafish 
  • Exploring the impact of medicine disposal on the environment and methods of reducing industrial and individual footprint 

Assigned topics in 2023-24 are: Understand and design an intervention to reduce carbon emissions in the NHS with respect to one of the following: 

  • Transport for patients, staff and visitors 
  • Single use plastics/switch to bio-based polymer
  • Anaesthetic gases 
  • Inhaler choice 
  • Sustainable prescribing (medicine waste) 
  • Waste: Life cycle assessment 

This protocol is assessed by an executive summary (abstract), oral presentation and a written report, which included the design of the two posters. 


The content in this blog aligns with the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good health and wellbeing (3) and Climate action (13).

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