Dr. Jason Wong helped prepare the first year WesternU students for their first IPPE rotation in a community pharmacy as part of the Noon Elective Seminar series. A couple of reflections by students are posted below:
Reflection #1: Kevin Dinh, PharmD Candidate 2021
With IPPEs (Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience) coming up soon, Dr. Wong’s presentation on how to stand out during rotations will be especially useful. IPPEs provide P1s with a first-hand experience of what it is like working at a community retail pharmacy. My rotation site will be at Rite Aid, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the United States.Working at such a large pharmacy, it may be hard to find ways to stand out and impress a preceptor. Dr. Wong, however, offers great advice, like demonstrating a keen interest in learning while on rotation. For example, it is important to ask questions in order to find out as much as possible during this experience. Although it may have limited application since each pharmacy might use different software, gaining experience with the pharmacy’s computer system and how data is processed can help in the future. The specific software that a pharmacy uses may be different, but the way they organize their prescriptions and data may be similar, so it is still helpful to learn as much as possible while on an IPPE.
Reflection #2: Molly Bun, PharmD Candidate 2021
I learned many professional skills on how to be a standout student during rotations. First and foremost, I should always smile when meeting my preceptor and greeting customers. In addition, when on my IPPE rotations, I should dress appropriately, be on time, and have perfect attendance. While on the job, I should learn brand-generic drug conversions, know which aisles OTC medications are (writing this down in a notepad will help), know basic math (use acalculator if anything), and get to know other associates. I should ask my preceptor for feedback on my performance and find out how I can improve. Once I have completed a round of IPPE rotation at a certain pharmacy, I should give the preceptor a thank you card and keep in touch because a job opportunity may come my way if I’m ever interested. Some factors that employers look for are competence, dependability, flexibility, and desire to learn, improve, and succeed.
Reflection #3: Connie Chao, PharmD Candidate 2021
An average day in a community pharmacy can be very busy and consists of filling prescriptions, calling doctors, and taking calls from patients. Student pharmacists on rotations have many responsibilities including prompt service to customers, taking customer information and prescriptions, and refill authorizations. It is important to understand that all jobs can become repetitive, and pharmacy is no exclusion, but a student on rotations should never complain about “boring” work. To be a standout student during rotations, students should be on time, dress appropriately, know brand-generic conversions, OTCs, and get to know their associates. Students should always have the desire to learn, improve and succeed and can achieve this by asking for feedback from their preceptor. An important factor of pharmacy is that community pharmacy can be hectic and busy, and sometimes there just is not enough time to always help a pharmacy student out, so one should know how to learn by listening and observing their preceptors. Pharmacy is a small world as we have learned before, and networking is animportant skill, so pharmacy students should try to keep in touch once the externship ends as well, because it can always lead to opportunities.