Let the Rotations Begin!

The first few weeks of P4 rotations is complete, with students working at many rotation sites that are available to UCSOP students. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “rotation site,” think of it as on-the-job training. Students have the opportunity to work at a pharmacy or hospital; classrooms are available if the student is interested in teaching what they’ve learned. The experience allows students to hone their communication skills with patients, while helping fortify the teachings they received in the classroom setting. The goal of the experience is to expose students to their future jobs and responsibilities, with a safety net in the form of a preceptor.

P4 Student Kyle Robinson with Preceptor Joey Anderson at Alum Creek Pharmacy on Sand Plant Road

P4 Student Kyle Robinson with Preceptor Joey Anderson at Alum Creek Pharmacy on Sand Plant Road

Incoming students may be curious as to what rotation sites are available, and I know one of the first emails I sent  as a pharmacy student was to the Experiential Experience Director asking what rotation sites I could look forward to. The director emailed me a rough list and although I had a few years before I could experience most of them, I felt excited and started my planning. At this point, I should clarify roughly how the process works. Students rank the rotations they want, and then a computer system utilizes a lottery-like algorithm to determine which student goes to what site. Therefore, there is a bit of randomness involved and nothing is truly certain.

Luckily the school has a very strong preceptor network, covering multiple different fields of pharmacy. Students interested in institutional environments like hospitals have options like the Cleveland Clinic, Indian Health Services, Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC), Cabell Huntington Hospital, Thomas Memorial Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Highland Hospital, just to name a few. If students prefer to go into retail or community pharmacy, there is a plethora of rotations as well. These include CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Walgreens, and Kroger rotations, as well as many independently owned pharmacies that focus on compounding and home infusion products. UCSOP also has rotations specializing in academia, research, and industrial pharmacy. Opportunities for such rotations are available with professors at the school, but also with Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the drug manufacturer giant in Morgantown, WV.

This list only contains a few of the available rotation sites, as the UCSOP has sites as far west as Guam, Alaska, and New Mexico, as well as many in Chicago, Columbus, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky. There’s also the possibility of setting up a new rotation site as well, however this process may take a very long time, as the site must be qualified and inspected to ensure the school’s standards are met.

As a student who originally was worried about the available sites, I have come to realize that the only real limitation is the lack of time to experience them all. Looking at my current rotation schedule, I wish I could try a few more than just the eight I am current assigned.

Contributed by Peter Relvas, P4 student.

P4 Student Mike Brown Reflects on AACP Rotation

UCSOP P4 student Mike Brown just finished an APPE rotation at the headquarters of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), which is an organization that serves pharmacy faculty through education and networking opportunities.  Mike applied and was rewarded with the opportunity to participate in a competitive P4 rotation at the AACP headquarters in Alexandria, VA.  Students that rotate with AACP write blog entries musing on their experiences during the 5 weeks.  Below is the link to the AACP blog, with the most recent entries being by Mike Brown, who previously wrote about his 1st rotation experience for the UCSOP blog.  Many thanks to Mike for representing UCSOP at the national level, and for sharing your experiences with all of us!



Reflections from a P4 Student

mike brownDuring my P4 year, I was able to match one of my rotations with Jessica Robinson, PharmD, BCPS.  Dr. Robinson is a second-year residency-trained infectious disease (ID) pharmacy specialist.  I spent the 5 weeks of the rotation rounding with the ID team, monitoring antibiotic therapies, and working on projects to improve patient care.  The thing I came to love about ID was that it is one of the only areas of pharmacy that is completely curative.  If you give someone the proper antibiotics, they will get better!  I was able to see how a properly trained pharmacist can mean the difference between life and death for patients with severe infections.

Pharmacists are also on the front line of “Antibiotic Stewardship.”  Overuse of antibiotics in recent times has led to an ever-increasing plethora of drug-resistant bacteria.  Pharmacists can save patients and the healthcare system money.  Additionally, we are taking an active role in preventing future drug-resistant bacteria, while preserving the treatment options currently available.  My first P4 rotation opened my eyes to the role of a modern pharmacist in a hospital setting and increased the likelihood that I will pursue a similar type of pharmacy specialty in the future.

Dr. Herdman:  What did you enjoy most about this rotation?

Mike B.:  I enjoyed seeing how pharmacists really are part of a comprehensive medical team.  I liked seeing the role Dr. Robinson plays in helping improve drug use for CAMC patients, which helps them get better sooner.

Dr. Herdman: What was the hardest part of the rotation, especially since it was your first P4 rotation?

Mike B.:  The hardest part was making the transition from what you read in a book, to interpreting therapy for each individual patient.  Thankfully, Dr. Robinson was very patient and did a wonderful job teaching and bridging those gaps.

Dr. Herdman:  I think UCSOP is very lucky to have an ID specialist on faculty.  As a student, what do you think is the value to having Dr. Robinson as a teacher and preceptor?

Mike B.:  There is no substitute for someone who is trained in the specialty you are having a rotation in!  They provide so much great detail about the subject.  Additionally, even if you don’t have Dr. Robinson for a rotation, you get to have her for class during your P3 year where she does a wonderful job teaching antibiotic therapy to the class!