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Fairytale Creative Writing to Improve Comprehension of Immunological Mechanisms

1 July 2011


Pacific University School of Pharmacy utilizes a modified block curriculum, combining didactic lecture and student team active learning techniques. Basic immunology is taught during the P1 year, with pharmacotherapy introduced in the P2 curriculum. Knowledge of the immune system has significantly expanded during the past decade, as has the number of medications that target specific immunological messengers and pathways.

It is imperative that pharmacists understand the pathophysiology of the immune system and how medications interact with its function. Pacific uses 6-hour class days which allows for didactic lecture to introduce a topic, with subsequent time for application and synthesis. The purpose for this creative writing assignment was to advance the level of comprehension of complex immunologic mechanisms and medications presented in lecture, and to synthesize information within and between pharmacy student teams. Presentation of student-developed material needed to be simple and memorable, like a children’s story. As fairytales capture our attention and are repeated from generation to generation, it was this story format that students were challenged to create and pass on to their peers.

Inspiration for this activity came from being in close proximity to Disneyland while attending ASHP MCM 2010. Literature searches in the Medline, IPA, and ERIC databases did not yield reports of creative writing as an exercise to increase comprehension of topics related to pharmacy curricula.


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