Contributed by: Jenny Long, Class of 2017
Every year the University of Charleston student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) holds their annual patient counseling competition. This year, the competition was held on campus January 25th and 28th. Students from each class within School of Pharmacy compete by counseling a standardized patient to win a trip and the chance to compete at the national level at APhA annual meeting. In the local competition, students are given a mock patient case to review for 5 minutes prior to counseling the patient. The counseling session is recorded so judges can evaluate the counseling process using a rubric provided by the national organization. This year, the winner of the local competition is P4 student Albert Won.
The counseling competition is reflective of what pharmacists do in a community pharmacy on a day-to-day basis. According to Albert, “It felt like a counseling session in a community pharmacy. The counseling session often occurs right as the patient is about to pick up his medications. There is so much drug information available. It is up to pharmacists to clearly present a condensed material.”
Albert decided to enter the competition because it mimics what happens on a daily basis in community pharmacies and provides a good opportunity to refine the counseling skills a pharmacist needs and receive feedback from faculty who have experience in the field. “I’ve signed up every year since my first year in school, and this is the first year I have been selected as a representative of the school to compete in nationals. I felt that my experience in the competition have me more practice and confidence on patient counseling during my rotations.”
Since winning the local competition, Albert has been preparing vigorously to compete in the national competition to be held at the APhA Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD March 4th -7th. Preparing for the national competition includes learning how the competition will be setup. “There is a webinar all competitors are required to watch that explains the national competition setup, and I will review past winners’ competition recordings that are available on YouTube,” said Albert. In addition to learning the setup of the competition, Albert will also be studying clinical information, such as counseling tips on how to handle different patients. He also has a textbook to refer to as a guideline.
Albert is looking forward to the opportunities both the competition and meeting will bring. “Not only will I be representing UC as participant I will be one of the UC delegates for Phi Lambda Sigma and Phi Delta Chi. It is my first time attending APhA Annual, and I am looking forward to networking with other students and pharmacists at the meeting. I am going to give my all at the competition and do the best I can.”