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The University of Southampton

HLTH6188 Neonatal Clinical Pharmacology (Online)

Module Overview

This module aims to develop and expand your knowledge of pharmacology and applied clinical sciences within the neonatal context.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of pharmacology and related clinical sciences which can be applied to your assessment and management of neonates.
  • Evaluate critically the effectiveness of drug actions and demonstrate expertise in applying this knowledge to prescribing practice and/or medicines management in neonatal clinical practice.
  • Critically explore evidence based practice, clinical governance and safe clinical practice and regulation with regard to neonatal prescribing.
  • Consider strategies that build, develop and maintain concordant partnerships that enhance adherence, safe, ethical and effective medicines management and show originality in identifying how these factors can be used to inform prescribing practice in the neonatal context.


This module will focus on the principles of clinical pharmacology. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic relationships and will learn how to apply these principles in clinical practice. The following topics will be covered: Clinical pharmacology including the effects of co-morbidity • Pharmacology, including pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and pharmacotherapeutics • Anatomy and physiology as applied to neonatal prescribing practice • Basic principles of drugs to be prescribed, and drug handling e.g. absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, including but not limited to adverse drug reactions (ADR) and interactions with other diseases. Interactions, reactions and drug response specifically related to the neonatal patient. • Impact of physiological state on drug responses and safe prescribing practice, for example, in neonates • Ordering, interpreting and responding to laboratory investigations • Selection of drug regimen in well neonates and vulnerable sick neonates • Pharmaco-therapeutics related to controlled drugs Evidence-based practice, clinical governance and ethics in relation to prescribing • Knowledge of sources of evidence based prescribing including international, European, national and local guidelines, protocols, policies, decision support systems and formularies – including rationale for, adherence to and deviation from such guidance. • Critical analytical skills • Identify and report unexpected and adverse drug reactions and near misses • Clinical Trials of Drugs Used Off-label in Neonates: Ethical Issues Prescribing in the public health context • Professional prescribing responsibilities with regard to the administration of “off-label” medications • Public health issues and polices regarding the use of antibiotics/antimicrobials and vaccines and resistance to them • inappropriate prescribing, including over-prescribing and under-prescribing • Use of medicines in populations and in the context of health priorities • Inappropriate use of medication, including misuse, under-use and over-use

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will take a broad-based learner centred approach to teaching and learning methods, intending to promote deeper learning whilst meeting a range of learning styles. The core theoretical material will be delivered as online text “lectures” within a “Virtual Learning Environment” (VLE) and you will be allocated to discussion groups (“Discussion Forums”) which will be tasked with reflecting on, and discussing within the VLE, clinical scenarios which relate to the theoretical material. The groups will each include up to 12 participants and discussions will be directed and modulated by experienced tutors – two per group. While most of the discussions will be asynchronous – by leaving comments within the Discussion Forums - each group will also hold synchronous discussions, possibly once every two or three weeks, when they will “meet” together - online. These sessions will be facilitated by your group tutors, the module leader or the module developers. Where appropriate, “Plenary Sessions” will be included, which will allow you to share in discussions on the prescribing practices and underpinning evidence in your context. A range of resource material, including links to relevant online sites, will be made available on the VLE. These methods will facilitate learning from text-based material, from participation in discussion and reflection with peers working in a range of different cultural environments. Specially developed case based studies will be explored to focus on the application of the lecture materials. Topics including the use of specific medications will be debated and evaluated.

Completion of assessment task30
Follow-up work20
Wider reading or practice50
Preparation for scheduled sessions80
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Clinical Pharmacology Online.

Rylance G., Harvey D. R., and Aranda J. (2001). Neonatal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 

British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (2011). British National Formulary & or BNF for Children. 

Constable, S., Winstanley, T.and Walley, P. (2007). Medical Pharmacology: A Clinical Core Text for Integrated Curricula with Self Assessment (Master Medicine). 

Standards for Prescribing.

McGeown, J.G. (2007). Master medicine: Physiology. 

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Medicines Adherence: Involving Patients in decisions about prescribed medicines and supporting adherence.

Goldacre B. (2013). How Medicine is Broken, and How We Can Fix It. 

World Health Organisation Adherence to Long-Term Therapies: Evidence for Action.

Nieuwlaat R1, Wilczynski N, Navarro T, Hobson N, Jeffery R, Keepanasseril A, Agoritsas T, Mistry N, Iorio A, Jack S, Sivaramalingam B, Iserman E, Mustafa RA, Jedraszewski D, Cotoi C, Haynes RB. (2014). Interventions for enhancing medication adherence. Cochrane Database Syst. .

Baxter K (2012). Stockley's Drug Interactions Pocket Companion. 

Rang, H.P., Dale, M., Ritter, J.M. and Flower R.J. (2007). Pharmacology. 

A Textbook of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

van Riet-Nales D.A., Schobben A.F., Vromans H,.Egberts T.C., Rademaker C.M. (2016). Arch Dis Child. , pp. 662-9.


Assessment Strategy

This tri-partite approach to assessment is designed to enable you to demonstrate your depth and breadth of clinical pharmacology knowledge and experience as well as your ability to demonstrate your ability to use higher cognitive skills. All assessment guidance will be available in your module handbook where you will also find information on referencing and plagiarism. As all assignments will be submitted electronically, Turnitin will be used to confirm originality of your work


MethodPercentage contribution
Multiple choice question 80%
Qualitative evaluation 20%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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