My Immersion Experience: Ashlyn Norris

Students have their first immersion (pharmacy rotation) the summer after their PY1 year. They are placed in either a hospital (health system) or community pharmacy. For more information about our curriculum, click here.


Name: Ashlyn Norris
Year: PY2 (Class of 2019)
Rotation: Community

Where was your immersion located?

Morrisville, NC: Morrisville Pharmacy and Compounding

How did you prepare for your immersion experience?

There was not too much to do to prepare for the community rotation prior to my first day. Once I started I had to go through all of the trainings for the computer systems and medication review systems that the pharmacy used. I also had to familiarize myself with all of the OTC medications that were available and where to find them in the store as patients came in with questions or requesting certain medications.

What was a typical day like?

A typical day at the pharmacy as a Student Intern started off by checking the fax machine for prescriptions, refill request, D/C orders, hospital discharge summaries, etc. I would then enter and process the prescriptions and refill requests and give them to the technicians to fill. I would then update patients profiles with any medication changes and upload any labs or discharge papers. After all of the paper work was taken care of I would work on conducting Complete Medication Reviews for the pharmacy’s patients. This involved comparing the fill history for a patient to a new discharge summary or medication list from their provider. I would then call the patients and providers and go over any medication concerns or discrepancies that I found and update their profile with our conclusions. Throughout the day I would also answer the phone and speak to any patient that had questions.

What did you like about your rotation?

I had a lot of freedom to initiate projects as I saw fit in the pharmacy, which I really enjoyed. I was able to completely renovate the Pharmacy’s OTC selection and reorganize them based on their specific patients needs. The pharmacy served many diabetic patients so I was able to reorganize their diabetic supply area to make it easier to see what was there and what needed to be ordered, while also making it easier for technicians who may not be as familiar with the supplies able to find what they needed. I was also able to create a How to Store Insulin sheet to give to patients and caregivers on the proper storage technique for all of their different types of insulin.

Student Perspective: Pharmaceutical Care Lab and Compounding

A blog post from Amanda D’Ostroph, Class of 2017.

The Pharmaceutical Care Lab that we have in pharmacy school is very different from undergraduate biology and chemistry labs. We use lab time for more practical activities such as patient counseling, vital signs, blood glucose screenings, and aseptic technique for IV bags. Our labs are held in small groups of 8 to 10 students and are led by a 3rd year or resident TA. Every day we learned practical skills that are needed for our future careers as pharmacists.

One of my favorite aspects of Pharmaceutical Care Lab is when we get to compound medications. Compounding involves preparing personalized medications for a patient. The individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient to provide them the best treatment. At the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, compounding is unique from other schools because we prepare 4-6 compounds per semester over five semesters rather than a single course during one semester. Dr. Robert Shrewsbury instructs us via his textbook, lectures, and videos. We are very blessed to call him our own and have him at UNC because he is a very well-known in the world of compounding. The textbooks he wrote and his videos are used by other schools of pharmacy and for advanced online training in compounding.

When we are compounding a medication in lab we go through the process from start to finish, as if it were a real life scenario. Prior to coming to lab we are provided with a prescription and formulation record detailing how to prepare the medication. We follow the lecture and instructional videos to assist us in making our product. After packaging them with an accurate prescription label, Dr. Shrewsbury tests the finished product to ensure they were made correctly. We also cover the main counseling points of the drug we compounded with our TA as if they are patient receiving the medication.

Pharmaceutical Care Lab is just one of many opportunities here at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy that allows you to grow and develop into the best pharmacist you can be for your patients.