MPharm 4, eight teams, four scenarios…one winner
Forget the Brown-Cameron-Clegg debate; "The Great KCL Pharmacy Debate 2011" was definitely one to watch. An event that put classmate against classmate and friend against friend.
Our scenario: "you are on-call consultant pharmacist in a hospital intensive care unit. A patient with swine flu has been treated with the first line antiviral, oral oseltamivir for five days without showing signs of improvement. You know that IV zanamivir has been used off-license to treat cases of influenza. It is 1pm on a Friday afternoon and the lead clinician is consulting you on whether the anti-viral therapy strategy should be revised before the weekend." We were arguing "for" the use of unlicensed IV zanamivir.
As teams we had spent two months preparing for this one day. We had searched literature, talked to pharmacists and used every resource available. A 40 minute debate would decide the outcome of our hard work. I was in team B (B for the best).
As part of our team strategy we separated our arguments into "scientific" and "ethical" points. We talked about national guidelines recommending the use of IV zanamivir on a compassionate basis, we highlighted the significant evidence base of successful IV zanamivir use and we even discussed the likelihood of oseltamivir resistance. As well as this ethical principles were the backbone of our proposal and we emphasised our consideration of the standards of conduct, ethics and performance as laid out by the General Pharmaceutical Council.
Individual roles had been assigned within our 11 membered team, ranging from team leader to note taker, we had things covered. As team speaker it was my role to deliver a 3 minute opening speech and 5 minute closing speech on behalf of the team. This meant I was safe from the daunting experience of answering the judge's questions, which the rest of the team handled with poise. However it put me at the front of a lecture theatre, alone. Just me, the microphone and those glaring eyes.
I did not want to let the team down, we had all worked so hard for this one day and I had to make them proud. As I recited my speech I was using phrases like "ladies and gentleman" and "our honourable opponents" I loved it, I felt like I was in parliament. Years at a Saturday drama school as a child paid off at "The Great KCL Pharmacy Debate".
The experience improved my literature research skills and I learnt how to consider two sides of a question and structure a logical and concise argument using evidenced based knowledge. As well as this it improved my teamwork and public speaking skills.
It was a great day; our opposing team came well prepared and the other debates were fascinating to watch. However as a team we seemed to have captivated the judges and captured the audience. I still remember the moment they announced our success, that feeling of elation, that look on each and every member of my team, a moment I can't explain.
The sweet taste of victory...team B, B for the best…a title well earned!
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