Student Organization Highlight: SHAC

We have 16 student organizations. Student organizations allow students to perform community service and outreach, network and focus on career and professional development, and meet other pharmacy students and have fun.

The Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) is a clinic run by pharmacy, medical, social work, public health, physical therapy, nursing, and dentistry students (under the supervision of practicing pharmacists and doctors) for under served and low income individuals. The students from the different health professions work together to diagnose, treat, and support the patients. SHAC is a great opportunity for pharmacy students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to direct patient care.

The pharmacy students have a SHAC blog and they post about working in the clinic. Meet the SHAC interns here and read more about their experiences here.

PCAT prep course

Are you preparing to take the PCAT this summer or fall? One of our student organizations, Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), will be offering a PCAT prep course at the Chapel Hill and Asheville campuses this summer.

From SNPhA:
“We will provide detailed instruction in Biology, Chemistry, Math, and English. We will also be covering test-taking strategies, administering pre- and post-exams, and hosting a mock MMI session to simulate the pharmacy school interview process.”

For more information or to register, please visit their website: https://pharmacy.unc.edu/events/the-pcat-preparatory-review/

New curriculum first impressions

You may have heard that we launched a new curriculum this past fall semester. Check out this link to learn more about what makes it unique. Current PY1 student, Melanie Ayarza-Rodriguez, wanted to share some of her first impressions from the fall semester and the new curriculum.

“The new pharmacy curriculum started with the bridging course. The bridging course was mostly review, and an introduction to the important concepts we would need to know for the courses to come in the fall semester. It covered the “basics”: organic chemistry, biostatistics, math, biochemistry, and biology. It was pretty much every hard prerequisite class we took to get into pharmacy school, all in a month’s time. It was so helpful, especially for students who had been out of their groove for a while and had taken a break from school. The review course helped us ease into our fall courses and gave us a preview of what a typical day would be like at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Every day, class was held in Kerr 1001 (in Chapel Hill) and Karpen 106 (in Asheville), and free coffee is available 24 hours a day. 🙂

Then came the fall semester, where we had seven completely new classes all about diseases, medications, immunizations, and so much more! Not only did we have all these new classes, we also had 15 student organizations trying to recruit us to be a part of their circle. Immunization class was fun! If you were wondering, yes, we did give our classmates shots (just two), as it is required in order to pass the class.  The two classes we had to put in a lot of hard work for were Molecular Foundations of Drug Action and Pathophysiology of Human Disease. You get exposed to so many different topics and it all comes at you so fast, but the professors are there to help; everyone here wants to see you to succeed.

As long as you keep up with all your work and manage your time, you could participate in organizations like the Recruitment Ambassadors 🙂 or Carolina Association of Pharmacy Students (CAPS). CAPS is the largest student organization at the school. There are also professional fraternities, which focus on professional development, and other organizations that focus on community service and different areas of the pharmacy profession.

We are only a few weeks into the spring semester, but in every new class we are continuing to build on top of what we learned in the fall. We’re learning a lot about patient safety and care! School is challenging, but in a good way. The curriculum is training students to be innovative and go above and beyond to improve the health care system, and that encourages us to think outside the box and challenge ourselves.”

 

Asheville Student Perspective: Interprofessional Team Night at ABCCM

A blog post from Stephen Canaday, Class of 2017.

As student pharmacists, we are completely aware that our profession’s job is to serve as the “Medication Experts” on the healthcare team. However, we are only one part of the US healthcare team that ensures quality and safety of the healthcare convey to our patients.  In the United States, pharmacy curriculums at schools of pharmacy tend to focus our training only within our profession, and not from the interprofessional approach.  In 2009, six national associations of school of health care professionals (medicine, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, and public health) formed the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel to promote the importance of interprofessional education approach.

 

As a student pharmacist on the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy – Asheville Campus, I have the fortunate to be involved in an interprofessional education program called Interprofessional Team Night.  Interprofessional Team Night is collaboration between Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM), AB Technical Community College Nursing Program, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and UNC School of Medicine.  Interprofessional Team Night is a once a month service-learning and community engagement experience for nursing, pharmacy, and medical students in Asheville, NC.  During Team Night, each professional student comes together to form an interprofessional team that provides free medical care to our community at a local medical clinic.

 

As a participate of Interprofessional Team Night, I learned the importance of our profession, which is interwoven with other healthcare profession to provide the best quality of care for our patients.  During Team Nights, each professional student has specific jobs and responsibilities as a member of the team.  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: NCAP

A blog post from Rebecca Call, Class of 2016.

On October 21st, I attended the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists’ (NCAP) Annual Convention in Raleigh, NC. As a third year pharmacy student, I was interested to attend the conference in order to hear more about the recent changes in legislation concerning pharmacists giving vaccinations and also visit the residency showcase.

North Carolina is one of several states in which certified pharmacists can give immunizations, specifically the influenza, herpes zoster (shingles) and pneumococcal vaccines to patients over 18 years old. However, I kept hearing that the law would soon be expanded. This year, the law did change and, as was announced at the convention, pharmacists can now give hepatitis B, meningococcal and tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (TD, Tdap) vaccines to patients over 18. In addition to this, the age restriction for flu shots was lowered to 14 years old. I believe that vaccines are critical to public health and am glad that pharmacists can play a larger role in preventing these life-altering diseases.

While much of the morning of NCAP was spent on presentations, the afternoon featured the residency showcase. Residencies are one- or two-year programs that are completed after obtaining a PharmD degree. Students typically apply for them during their fourth year in pharmacy school in order to develop and specialize their clinical skills.

As a third year student, I wanted to visit the different booths in order to find out about areas that might interest me and local programs to keep in mind for next year. Pharmacy is a very tight knit community, so I was able to say hello to several professors at the various UNC Pharmacy residency tables and also see friends who had graduated and were now completing their first or second residency year. It was inspiring to see people whom I remembered stressing about their residency choices a few years ago now at booths promoting their programs and discussing projects they had completed.

I think conventions are a great way to learn more about the wider world of pharmacy as a student. The NCAP annual convention gave me a chance to keep up to date on current legislation changes in North Carolina as well as learn more about potential options for me after I graduate. The NCAP conference is especially convenient because it is often close to Chapel Hill and covers issues important to pharmacists locally. In short, I would highly recommend it to new students wanting to know more about pharmacy in North Carolina.

Student Perspective: Student Organizations

A blog post from Emily George, Class of 2016.

Some of the more rewarding experiences I have had as a student pharmacist have been outside of the pharmacy school and organizations specific to pharmacy students. Working and volunteering among other professionals in varying disciplines offers a unique perspective to our place as pharmacists in the ever-changing healthcare arena. It has been validating to shadow pharmacists excelling in their niche. Specifically, when rounding at the hospital as a volunteer or just to shadow, it is obvious that pharmacy is viewed with high regard, as doses are verified, lab results are analyzed, interactions are noted and therapeutic changes are made. At times, you wonder how you will ever learn – and remember! – all of those values and interactions, but it has become a personal challenge to meet and exceed the reputation pharmacy holds at UNC.

Additionally, I have been able to take another step back from pharmacy school and the pharmacy department and develop in a role as a healthcare counselor. Specifically, I volunteer for an interdisciplinary student-run organization, SHAC-HIV. In doing so, I gain invaluable experience talking with patients about difficult and not-so-difficult subjects. Rather than thinking about blood pressure and proper dosing regimens, I am able to shift focus more on empathy and emotion, while still teaching, listening and providing a service. This dynamic is important to develop and foster to complement more clinical and textbook knowledge. Again, it provides insight into the overall impact healthcare providers can have on the general public. Figuring out how I can fit into my own role in the future and best employ my knowledge and experience excites me. I would encourage student pharmacists to find what drives them, what their end goal really is, and work to build and develop a strong foundation for whatever it may be during the years in the classroom.

Student Perspective: Joining a Professional Pharmacy Fraternity

A blog post from Marie Waddles, Class of 2016.

During my first semester of pharmacy school, I decided to rush a professional pharmacy fraternity, Phi Delta Chi (PDC). PDC appealed to me because it is the only co-ed professional pharmacy school available at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. As a new student at a new school, I felt that is was important to find a way to connect to the school and find a group of like-minded individuals to associate myself with.

Phi Delta Chi affords its members the opportunity to hold many different leadership positions. During my second year of school, I had the honor of being a member of the Executive Board of PDC. The position I held was Worthy Master at Arms (WMA). I was responsible for recruitment and new Brother education. During my time as WMA, I was able to develop many different skills, including time management, communication and problem solving. I can honestly say that my time spent as WMA was one of the most fulfilling things I have done while in pharmacy school. In addition to leadership opportunities, PDC allowed me to interact with students from different graduating classes. This was especially important to me because students in the preceding graduation classes offer valuable information about professors, classes and organizations.

I highly recommend considering Phi Delta Chi if you decide to attend UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. The school offers a wide variety of organizations to choose from so even if Phi Delta Chi doesn’t sound right for you, please find some way to become involved with a student organization so that you can leave your mark on our great school!

Student Perspective: Volunteering with SHAC Beyond Clinic Walls

A blog post from Yue Dong, Class of 2018.

As a first year pharmacy student, I have learned so many things this year, from how to take medication history for a patient, how to take blood pressure and blood glucose, and how drug metabolism works to everything in-between. Although we always have a pretty load of course work for us, one of the things I really enjoyed this year was using these skills I have learned and applying it through volunteer clinics and events such as SHAC (Student Health Action Clinic).

One organization I really enjoyed working with was the SHAC Beyond Clinic Walls program. Through this program, I worked with a team of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology students from UNC to assist our client Bill in any health related or social needs. Our team met up with him once a month to help with any medical or social concern he had. I really enjoyed working with my team and our client as most of our meetings turned into story times and him asking us about our lives and how school was going. Even though we were there to assist Bill, he was genuinely interested in what we had to say and he wanted to be informed of how our different disciplines worked. For instance, I spent about half an hour during one meeting to explain the role of a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner and explaining different fields of a pharmacy career.

By the end of the semester, we helped Bill with improving his social needs at his retirement community by helping set up a story telling time. Although our work with Bill was not completely medically related at times, understanding the needs of a patient to outside the scope of medication really helped me understand sympathy and improve relationship skills especially while working with my interdisciplinary team. Volunteering, through SHAC, IFC clinic, or any other organization, really helped me as a student pharmacist understand that it is our goal to help those in need and truly understand their concerns to improve their quality of life. I strongly recommend volunteering as a student pharmacist not only to implement the skills we learn in school but for the satisfaction in being able to help a patient.

Student Perspective: A Family in Pharmacy School

A blog post from Stephanie Barquero, Class of 2016.

As a pharmacy school student at UNC, there are so many different organizations to be involved in – all of which promote building social and professional ties with your classmates. For me, one particular organization that is close to my heart is Kappa Psi, one of the co-ed professional pharmacy fraternities at UNCESOP. I went to UNC as an undergrad and pledged Kappa Psi in the Spring of my freshman year. Now, going into my fourth year as a brother, I can’t believe how the time has flown and all the memories I’ve made with such a special group of people.

 

As a professional fraternity Kappa Psi is involved with many professional events at the pharmacy school but also community service in Chapel Hill and the surrounding area. In addition we have social events at our house (which is about a mile from campus) such as dinner, our semi formal in the fall, and many others, some of which are through collaboration with the other co-ed fraternity at the school – Phi Delta Chi. We also have tons of leadership opportunities giving everyone the chance to go above and beyond to serve the fraternity. Each one of the things we do has given me memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Kappa Psi is a family for me. I know I can count on my brothers for anything I need and their support will carry me through the rest of my time in school and as an alumnus.

 

While going through your education, I urge you to find an organization similar to what Kappa Psi means to me. I personally believe being a part of a group such as this only enhances your college experience and is an invaluable part of shaping who you will be in the future.

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.