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: Kristina Murphy
Year: PY2 (Class of 2019)
Rotation: Health System
Where was your immersion located?
UNC Chapel Hill Hospital
How did you prepare for your immersion experience?
Before immersion, I did some basic research on the services my preceptors covered to become familiar with some of the disease states and drugs I would be seeing throughout the months. Additionally, I communicated with my preceptor prior to my start date to introduce myself and find out a little more about what to expect. Especially during your first immersion, it can be difficult to prepare as it is something you have never experienced before, but if I could give one piece of advice, it would be to trust yourself and the knowledge you have gained throughout your first year. It can be overwhelming at times, but you’ll start picking up on things you saw in class and relate it to real life practice.
What was a typical day like?
For the first month of my rotation, I was located in the Cancer Hospital Infusion Pharmacy also known as CHIP for my distribution/dispensing portion of immersion. I received the opportunity to learn about the verifying and dispensing process from technicians, residents, and pharmacists. Each day I was with a different employee and received the opportunity to see the entire process from various points of view. For my second month, I was part of surgical oncology, ENT, and orthopedic teams located in the Neuroscience wing at UNC. The beginning of my day consisted on reading up on the newly admitted patients from the night before that needed to be seen. After getting background information, I visited each patient and spoke them about their medications used at home prior to admission. I would then update their medical chart, assess the case and develop a plan. Towards the end of the day, I would meet with my preceptor to update them on any important details I found out from the interview and discuss how I thought we should proceed moving forward. It did require waking up early and staying long hours, but in the end my first immersion was very rewarding.
What did you like about your rotation?
I loved my rotation both in the CHIP and on an actual inpatient service! The dynamic nature of the teams I got to work with were incredible. One of my favorite parts of my clinical month was getting to attend rounds with physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and nutritional specialists. All patients on our service were presented every morning and the team worked together to update everyone on the status of the patient and address any new issues from the previous day while proposing solutions to improve their care. I learned a lot from my preceptors throughout my immersion and am still realizing how much exposure I received when topics I covered are brought up in class. I also enjoyed getting to know the pharmacists I interacted with and learn more about their career journeys. In the CHIP, I had the opportunity to learn from the night shift pharmacists who really took the time to teach and explain clinical details in oncology and even got to verify some orders (under their watchful eye of course). I really felt I could envision my future as a pharmacist and everything I had learn came to life for me.
What part of your immersion was most surprising and/or interesting to you?
I was really excited and surprised by the diverse population of patients I interacted with during my immersion. My experiences ranged from speaking to teenagers to a much older population with various backgrounds, cultures and medical issues.
What was the most challenging part of your rotation?
I think the most challenging part was learning what I could contribute and what role I could play as a first year student; specifically, when I could jump in and help staff and when I was not able during my first month. In the CHIP, hazardous drugs including chemotherapies were produced, however, as students we were not allowed to physically make these drugs making it difficult at times to sit back and watch.