Attending VCU was an easy choice for many reasons! While working as a pharmacy technician at a local long-term care facility, which also served as an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) for 4th year students, I was able to get to know the students and gain a sense of what VCU’s School of Pharmacy has to offer. I also began to sense the uniqueness of the program/curriculum offered at VCU as compared to other pharmacy schools. I believe students are the best advocate for any school or program so hearing about the opportunities presented to VCU students and how grateful students were for their education really excited me and ultimately lead to my decision to attend VCU.
My favorite learning experience thus far at VCU has been the educational opportunities during my second year IPPE hospital rotation. Up until my IPPE I had never had the opportunity to work in hospital pharmacy so it was uncharted territory for me going in. While on rotation, I was able to experience the many roles pharmacists play in the hospital setting. One of my most challenging assignments was to follow a patient through their stay in the hospital, reviewing their course of treatment and its changes, and determining the appropriateness of their therapy. Having the opportunity to work on such a project allowed me to familiarize myself with lab values and culture and specimen reports, and challenged me with the evaluation of signs and symptoms. Taking all of these things into consideration and putting knowledge of research treatment guidelines to use engendered a solid understanding of how to ensure patients are receiving the best and most appropriate care. I also had to present my patient findings to the whole pharmacy staff AND the attending physician. Although nerve racking, it allowed me to become more confident in working with other health care professionals and engage them in thoughtful, educational discussion. In the end, it was so rewarding!
The learning opportunities at VCU are endless. As an academic medical center, VCU allows students the opportunity to simply walk across the street into a level one trauma center and essentially shadow and/or gain learning experiences from ANY health care provider. My P1 year I saw a film that screened in one of the student centers revealing the good, bad and ugly of prison health care. I was intrigued and wanted to know more so I simply asked the nurse who presented the film more about it and without hesitation she told me to contact her at any time if I wanted to shadow her and experience inmate care in the hospital first hand. Of course, I went and boy was it a unique experience! My point is, VCU is unmatched! There are vast learning opportunities everywhere you turn...it’s up to the student to make the most of them.
I have always had a love of geriatrics so I intend to find some avenue of pharmacy that can cater to this passion. I have worked in a long-term care facility with an onsite pharmacy that served independent and assisted-living residents, as well as memory support, and nursing home patients. I loved this environment because I got to practice a little bit of retail pharmacy as well as basic hospital-like pharmacy. If I could find another similar opportunity that would be my dream job!