Asheville Student Perspective: Beyond Clinic Walls – Asheville

A blog post from Stephen Canady, Class of 2017.

On the Asheville Campus, interprofessional learning is a big component of our extracurricular activities. We volunteer at a local medical clinic, at an Interprofessional Team Medical Clinic Night, and Beyond Clinic Walls-Asheville (BCW-Asheville).  BCW-Asheville is a new program on the Asheville Campus this school year. BCW-Asheville is a service learning and community-service engagement experienced formed on the foundational model of UNC’s Beyond Clinic Wall program. BCW-Asheville aims to serve MAHEC patients who have complex medical and/or social needs. BCW-Asheville helps their client to understand their often complicated health needs and to maintain contact with their health care providers.  Student volunteers from UNC School of Medicine Asheville, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy – Asheville Campus, Western Carolina University School of Nursing, and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Nursing program collaborate in interdisciplinary teams that partner with their clients for an academic year.

As a student leader of BCW-Asheville, I hope that our student volunteers learn to develop a holistic view of their client and help identify and correct any healthcare barrier(s) for their client.  I also hope students assist their client with accessing other community resources within the Asheville region. Every healthcare profession has a distinct role on the healthcare team. As a student pharmacist, volunteering in diverse interprofessional learning environments, I have learned some invaluable lessons that only come from working on an interprofessional healthcare team and experienced the tremendous benefit of pooled knowledge from diverse academic perspectives. Nonetheless, the most critical key point that I have learned is the importance of effective communication and developing relationships with other healthcare professionals to develop a positive medical learning environment where the patient truly becomes our top priority.

Student Perspective: Expanding Life Beyond Pharmacy

A blog post from Alvin Ong, Class of 2017.

As a former UNC undergrad, I was blessed with the opportunity of being a part of something bigger than just a school. While the academics undoubtedly challenged me to my breaking point at times, UNC taught me so much more than just school work and as a result, I am a better man for it. From the moment I stepped foot on campus, the myriad of student organizations available was astounding. I was mesmerized with the students as their passion and enthusiasm really stood out. Since I was young, I never undertook leadership opportunities, instead simply focusing all my energy on school. For once, I was challenged to undertake a different responsibility all the while maintaining a high enough GPA to be considered for UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. I took my responsibilities seriously, accepting a position as Vice President of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity and decided to coach basketball for 1st to 3rd graders for the Chapel Hill Recreation Center. Now as I look back on my time spent worrying over tests, I realize how meaningless it all is. The true measure of my growth wasn’t based on my test grades, rather I believe I have grown more than ever through my community and leadership experiences. I have learned the value of time management, organization, public speaking, working with a diverse group of people, and plenty more. These are the values that I cherish today and one that has better shaped me to the person I am today. Now that I am a PY1 in this professional program, I feel like I am better prepared than I would have been had I not stepped outside of my comfort zone and undertaken new challenges besides school. I am able to use the leadership experiences I have learned in undergrad as a stepping stone for future opportunities. Even with the increasing course load we experience as pharmacy students, I implore people to continue to get involved, not only within pharmacy school but outside of it as well. Pharmacy is, no doubt, a great career with many opportunities available, but it doesn’t mean we should limit ourselves to one field. Keep up with your hobbies, don’t let pharmacy take over your life. I coach today even though I’ve developed a few grey hairs due to pharmacy school. I use it to de-stress myself, a way to remove myself from the everyday hustle and bustle of class, meetings, and more. It is important we are able to see the bigger picture; UNC and the neighboring communities provide us with so many opportunities that it would be a shame if we didn’t take advantage of them. Use them to your advantage and only then will u maximize your time here not only at pharmacy school, but all of UNC as a whole.