Pharmacy student wins big

Johan Van Zyl -- Mon, 06/13/2016 - 09:09

Chemistry student wins big

A North-West University (NWU) student studying pharmacy carried off prize money of R35 000 from an international pharmaceutical company thanks to her exceptional ability to talk to patients about their medication. “I wasn’t even sure whether I wanted to enter the competition,” Raeesa Jooma, a second-year student at the Potchefstroom Campus said.

 “But for my mum’s sake I decided to enter and I asked her to pray for me. I could not believe it when I heard I had won. God is great.”

Dr Mariëtta Basson, senior lecturer in pharmacy practice, says the purpose of the competition is to test students’ proficiency in talking to patients about their medication.

 “This is the second year that we have run the competition in our curriculum on communication for pharmacists. The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca sponsors the prizes.”

For the purpose of the competition, Jooma was evaluated theoretically and practically. Experts of the company, the NWU and a pharmacist adjudicated the oral part of the competition.

Jooma was filmed on the part where she talked to a “patient” on medication for a stomach ulcer.

 “The (fictitious) patient did not use medication regularly. I had to talk to him to determine the exact nature of the problem, the type of information he had previously received about the medication and the dangers associated with not using medication.

 “It is about empathy and not so much about what you know but about what the patient understands.”

Jooma said Basson had motivated her to enter and had made every effort to help her prepare for the competition.

 “She played the role of the patient and pretended to sneeze or suffer from stomach ache. Our lecturers are helpful, passionate and really want us to excel. They feel like family.”

Jooma has a twin sister, Aneesah, who is also studying chemistry. According to Raeesa both will benefit from the R35 000. The two sisters dream of becoming researchers.

They say they did well in mathematics and science at school in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal.

Their father, Abdul-Kader, is a businessman and their mother, Fazila, provides halal food to the Potchefstroom Campus. The twins have an older and a younger sister.

A North-West University student in pharmacy, Raeesa Jooma, carried off prize money of R35 000 from an international pharmaceutical company.

Article and photo by Susan Cilliers, BEELD