White Coats on the Bridge

Every October is American Pharmacist Month and as such, the whole month is filled with activities at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. Each pharmacy organization and class sponsors at least one American Pharmacist Month event to help spread the word and educate people regarding the different aspects of pharmacy.  From medication therapy management to administering vaccinations, it is pharmacist’s job to let people know that pharmacists can do so much more than just count pills!

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UCSOP students on the Southside Bridge, Charleston WV

This year, the class of 2018 in coordination with the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) student chapter and UCSOP Class of 2020, hosted an event called “White Coats on the Bridge”. On Tuesday, October 11th, student pharmacists from every current class at UCSOP and UC’s mascot, Mo Harv the Golden Eagle, gathered in their white coats on the side of the Southside Bridge between MacCorkle Avenue and Virginia Street in Charleston to help spread awareness and celebrate American Pharmacists Month. As people drove by on their way home from work that evening, students waved signs promoting UCSOP, encouraging people to talk to their pharmacist about their medications, and just supporting the profession of pharmacy overall.

The event took place during the beginning of flu-season, so students took advantage of the opportunity to encourage people to get their annual influenza vaccination. Using signs like “Don’t get spooked by the flu” and “Honk if You Got Your Flu Shot”, students were able to interact with the passers-by and educate them in a fast and effective way. My favorite sign of the evening however, simply said, “Honk if you love your pharmacist” and over the course of the two hours we were there, well over 300 cars let out a friendly honk as they drove by!

At UCSOP, we are constantly looking for new and different ways to educate patients on all of the different things that their pharmacist can do for them, and “White Coats on the Bridge” is something that we had never done before. Overall, it was a beautiful evening for the event, and we all had a ton of fun getting the word out about American Pharmacists Month in a new and exciting way. The best part though, was definitely the support we received from the public. As cars drove by, drivers and their passengers would honk and wave, and you could see the smiles on their faces. If nothing else, it felt good just knowing that a group of student pharmacists made an impact and brightened someone’s day. The hope is that this becomes an annual event that grows throughout the years at UCSOP.

Contributed by Ryan Nolan, Class of 2018 President

UCSOP Class of 2018 Hosts Health Fair at Local Pharmacy

Starting this fall the Class of 2018 has set out to reinforce the vision of the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, which is to provide optimal healthcare to patients in rural Appalachia and other areas. The Class of 2018 has met this vision this semester by hosting a health fair at the Family Life Pharmacy in Comfort, West Virginia. This pharmacy serves a very rural part of West Virginia and gave us the opportunity to touch many patients lives that may not have the means of accessing health care on a regular basis.

Throughout the day we offered blood sugar and blood pressure checks, along with general information on diseases and ways to stay healthy. We also had the privilege of a local nurse participating in the fair and giving out flu shots to any patients who wanted them. All of the patients we interacted with that day really seemed to enjoy our company and information they received.

I personally participated in this activity and by doing so I feel as though I learned some great skills that I can apply to my future in pharmacy. We all learned how to effectively deliver medical information in a way that made sense to the patients. One of the more difficult parts of the day  was adjusting to accommodate the elderly patients. All of the student pharmacists had to come up with a way to aid in patient care with those who may not hear or see as good as they used to. This can be a real challenge when trying to accurately deliver or obtain information.

In total we interacted with around sixty patients throughout the day. We are hoping to make this a routine health fair and would love to see it happen multiple times throughout the year. In the upcoming semester the Class of 2018 along with a health fair is trying to organize a golf tournament for a local charity. We not only want to touch the lives of patients by interacting with them directly, but we also want to help the organizations that aid patients with chronic diseases provide better services and also monetary support. Our hope with doing activities in our community is that we can at least make a difference in one patients life if not many. If we can make a difference in a patient’s life, then that makes everything we are doing worthwhile.

Contributed by: David Poe (President, class of 2018).Poe, David