What are you waiting for? Start Packing for Operation Christmas Child!

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This year CPHS students came together to pack 123 boxes for Operation Christmas Child,  a project of Samaritan’s Purse.  Each year, Operation Christmas Child sends shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies to underprivileged children. Since 2014, CPHS pharmacy, public health, and physician assistant students have impacted 235 children through this project. Additionally, the PharmD Class of 2020 has adopted Operation Christmas Child as their charity.

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As we pack each box, we are reminded of some of our favorite childhood memories, toys and blessings. We hope that our hand written cards and the small gifts bring joy to these children as they open the boxes we packed with love.

Impact a life, get involved with Operation Christmas Child:  https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child

— Grace Boyce, P2

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PharmD/MSCR Students Gain Insight Into Where Healthcare and Technology Meet

In 2016, I wrote a post on the annual UCB Academic Engagement Night. After attending the event again this year at the UCB office in Research Triangle Park (RTP), I wanted to share the exciting new developments and provide a glimpse into where Campbell’s Dual PharmD/MSCR degree can take you.

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The event started with a showcase of various technologies followed by a brief presentation by UCB’s executive team. Next, various breakout sessions in different aspects of research were available for conference attendees. The Campbell group attended sessions on technology and the cost of research.

The technology session explored topics from security and encryption to de-centralization of technology and demonstrated the fascinating ways in which UCB is advancing technology. For instance, an IBM partnership with the supercomputer Watson is using artificial intelligence to do preliminary reads on bone scans and x-rays. Essentially, the radiologist and computer work hand in hand: the computer finds what it thinks is a fracture, and sends it to the radiologist, who then confirms or rejects it. This is a monumental development in osteoporosis, where initial fractures sometimes go undetected.

During the costs of research session, we participated in a true/false game. While most questions were predictable, I was surprised to learn that each day a drug is delayed from release on the market post-approval it can cost a company up to 15 million dollars per day! Additionally, we learned how biopharm companies are trimming the costs of development of new drugs by shortening the timeline in which products are brought to market or by increasing synchronicity between stages of drug development to speed things along. It was fascinating and reassuring to see how companies are trying to combat costs.

22791857_1747639515249299_7809953787798035156_oThe sessions were followed by a wrap-up summary, a lovely dinner and networking. This event provided an opportunity to see what is being done in the research field first-hand and helped me to realize the opportunities that lie ahead in research. Whether it’s through advancing new technological standards or impacting the costs of drugs and their development, clinical research provides so many opportunities to make an impact in the world of healthcare. The Campbell PharmD/MSCR dual degree has opened many doors for me, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. For more information on the PharmD/MSCR dual degree, please contact Dr. Melissa Holland at hollandm@campbell.edu.

— Evan Lucas, P2

 

 

Mid-Semester “Slump”

As students, especially common in CPHS, it’s a condition we all suffer from at some point—the mid-semester slump.  We have been in school for 2 months and still have another full 2 months to go, we’re swamped with 5 quizzes and 7 more exams before we’re free (for now) and the powerpoint presentations just don’t seem to be getting any shorter. The notes are piling up and we’re already 3 days behind on our studies. Sound all too familiar?

While the cure is not well known, the mid-semester slump is something that we can all work through.  I’m writing this post to address ways to get over this hump—as it is something I suffer from myself.

While this post may seem negative, I write to address and give my personal pieces of (unsolicited, but intended to be inspirational) advice to get away from the slump and truly succeed in pharmacy school.

  1. First and foremost- don’t forget why we are here. We chose to pursue pharmacy school because it is what we love. Whether it’s the medicinal chemistry (which for most, probably not) or the patient interaction, we want to be pharmacists and chose this career path. Think about how fast it’s already gone by, and remind yourself that you can make it through to our endpoint—graduation!
  2. Don’t forget to enjoy the moment. While the meetings seem redundant and your calendar is filled with not only homework but rush events, meetings, and speakers that you have to attend to get the certificate for your resume—remember to enjoy it. The meetings should be an outlet, and though it seems more appealing to go home and watch Netflix for your release—just enjoy the extracurricular activities, the pizza they have to offer, and remind yourself of how important it is for your future career and relationships—both personal and professional. My mom always reminds me that tomorrow today will be a memory, so enjoy it.
  3. Remember not to neglect what’s important. Your friends from home are wondering where you’ve been, and your mom is nagging you for not calling her the past 2 weeks. All these people care about you and are the upmost importance in your life. They are who have motivated you to get to where you are and chances are they are there to support you. I’m not saying go to every party and dinner that your friends have, they understand you’re in pharmacy school. This support system however is of the upmost importance to your success and a 5 minute phone call on your drive home can not only turn your day around, but probably your mom’s too.

While my advice may not bring you anything you didn’t already know, I hope that it inspires you- whether you’re in pharmacy school or not- to remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Starting your day with a good attitude, even if you’re swamped with emotions and exams, is key to your success and is my final piece of advice. All of this advice combined is what I would consider to be the remedy for my mid-semester slump so I hope it will at least help with your symptoms for those who are suffering from these sickness too.

— Shannon Hart, P3

Experiences and Tips from a P2 on Intro to Hospital Rotation

If you are like me and had no previous hospital experience, an intro to hospital rotation can be a real eye opener. My only previous pharmacy experience came from a community pharmacy perspective, and anyone who has worked in both settings can tell you that the difference is like night and day. My rotation took place this past May at WakeMed Cary Hospital and it was a great experience.

Experiences vary based on location, but here are a few things you might encounter and prepare for when going on your intro to hospital rotation:

Be prepared to engage with patients a lot! I gained much experience giving daily anticoagulation patient educations. I counseled patients on the various aspects of taking warfarin, dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban after the patients had undergone knee or hip surgery, experienced a pulmonary embolism, or suffered other ailments.

You’ll likely go on rounds at some point and get to see what it is like to evaluate an inpatient from a team perspective. As a P2, you may not have much knowledge about the various treatment regimens, but it could be helpful to review some of the more commonly acquired hospital infections and the treatments available. For example, you will likely be asked about MRSA, C. diff, and/or Pseudomonas infections and what are effective agents for treatment.

Lastly, remember that you are there to learn as much as possible about the profession and experience. Take the initiative and be proactive in your learning! If there is an area that you are particularly interested in, ask your preceptor about it and see if you can be exposed to it more often. The point of your rotation is to expose you to as much of that side of pharmacy as possible and facilitate your learning as you progress through the program.

— Matthew Reavis, P3

The View From Here: How Research Applies to Everything.

 

Research is in everything. Yes, you read that right. Everything. By this I mean that research is “put in” or “applied to” just about anything you can think of. Driving over a bridge? Research went into the stability of the cables, support of the structure, etc. Or maybe you are eating a turkey sandwich? Research allowed the grocery store to be just about certain the turkey they sold you was fresh and wouldn’t make you sick. So if research is in all that stuff, then we know certainly it applies to the drugs we take and the ways we mitigate disease. In my time thus far pursuing a Dual Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)/Masters of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) Degree, I’ve seen firsthand how this research is prepared, conducted, and presented to the public.

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It may look like a bridge, but it’s really…RESEARCH! 😊

Let me break it down a bit here. So when a drug is thought up, discovered, or created, it is up to folks called Pharmaceutical Scientists to design, produce, and package that drug in different dosage forms to be used by humans. For more on that, check out the MSPS program and all it has to offer here.

From there, the drug undergoes pre-clinical testing, where it is tested for safety and effectiveness in small animals. If those go well, then the drug is tested in humans. These tests are called clinical trials. There are all different phases of trials, depending on what properties you want to study or what outcomes you want to see. The ultimate goal of these trials is to ensure that the drug is safe and efficacious, or that it does what it’s supposed to.

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Once these studies are conducted, it’s a really big deal, and lots of money has gone into each study. So you want people to know about the work you’ve done! This is where publication comes in: the entire study is condensed into an article, reviewed by scientists and colleagues, and published in a journal. When it is published, it’s called primary literature.

This is where it gets interesting. The primary literature provides insight about small nuances concerning different diseases, drugs, and treatments. So when you take all of this in account, you can start to accumulate overwhelming evidence on how to treat a disease. This has become so commonplace that it is now an entire field of study, called evidence-based medicine, or the use of clinical trials and primary literature in the treatment of disease states.

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Would you rather climb the mountain or have your head in the clouds?

Students who enroll in a dual-degree program at Campbell such as the PharmD/MSCR are trained in evidence-based medicine and able to make thoughtful clinical decisions by looking at primary literature and pairing it with a patient’s symptoms to better tailor an approach to suit their needs. I like to think of healthcare as a vast landscape, with mountains of clarity surrounded by valleys filled with the dense fog of information. What clinical research does is allows the practitioner to stop being clouded with so much information and climb the mountain of clarity to see the whole picture concerning a patient’s well being. A picture that contains novel therapies, new perspectives on established practices, and millions of patients participating in trials around the world. So why wouldn’t you want to use the tools clinical research provides and “climb the mountain” to better healthcare? I invite you to come check out the view from here, and see how clinical research can enhance your current career goals or perhaps provide you with a whole new career path. If you have any questions concerning the PharmD/MSCR program here at Campbell University, feel free to visit the website or contact Dr.Holland for more information. You definitely won’t regret it!

-Evan Lucas, P2

Implementing knowledge from the PharmD/MBA Track in a Community Pharmacy

I have previously written about the various advantages in pursuing the dual PharmD/MBA, and now follows a real-world example of how the knowledge gained can be utilized to improve patient care:

A key component of improving patient health and outcomes is being innovative and solutions-oriented when it comes to providing patients’ medications. Improving patient medication adherence is a top priority in the field of pharmacy; it makes logical sense that the more adherent a patient is to the medication regimen, the better his or her health outcome on average. The knowledge gained in MBA business courses prove invaluable in facilitating solutions to commonly encountered problems.

During the summer, I work in a rural community pharmacy that has a large, underserved patient population. For some time, I wanted to devise and implement a plan to improve patient adherence. Over time I became aware that many patients were struggling to manage their medication regimens, and a sizable portion had difficulty getting to the pharmacy. This was an issue that needed to be addressed.

With help from some of the other pharmacy staff, I was able to devise and implement a medication synchronization and delivery service for the pharmacy. In brief, patients who fit certain parameters as good candidates that would greatly benefit from having their medications synced and filled on the same day of each month were contacted and informed about the service. These patients had the opportunity to opt into the program if they desired, and if they had a local address, they were also offered the option of once monthly delivery.

Before these services could be offered, some behind the scenes analyses had to take place—this is where the MBA courses shined. Analytical tools such as a back-of-the-envelope analysis allowed me to quickly estimate expected revenues while a more in-depth break-even analysis revealed the number of prescriptions and dollars needed to have the service be self-sustaining. Once the business math was calculated, we had our targets set and began the process of implementing protocols and processes needed to make the program operational and successful.

It has been a few months since the program has been in place, and we are actively tracking enrollment into these synchronization and delivery services. We expect services like these to improve patient adherence and lead to better care and health outcomes in the future. This is just one more example of how a deeper understanding of business can translate to success in the field of pharmacy and others.

For more information on the MBA dual degree, please visit the CPHS Dual Degrees website. 

Matthew Reavis, P3

“Come as You Are, Leave Different”- 51st Kappa Epsilon National Convention

IMG_20170802_173456This summer I was fortunate enough to attend the 51st Kappa Epsilon National Convention in New Orleans, LA.  The theme this year was, “Come as You Are, Leave Different.”  I had a great experience networking with other Kappa Epsilon members, young and old, from across the United States.  There were many guest speakers who provided information on pharmacy residencies, and how to curb stress during pharmacy school.  I was excited when I learned that the keynote speaker works at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC which isn’t too far from my hometown.  In addition to guest speakers, there was also an award ceremony, recognizing the best chapters.  Many workshops were offered, and I was given information which I felt will greatly benefit our Kappa Epsilon chapter here at Campbell.  These workshops focused on having a successful rush process, enhancing Potential New Member (PNM) education as well as increasing alumni involvement.  I feel as though many of the strategies and techniques discussed in these workshops will help make our chapter more successful.  The convention also consisted of business meetings, and updates to national bylaws.  I proudly served as Campbell University’s delegate during these meetings.

 

NC KEKappa Epsilon members from Campbell, UNC and Wingate at the 51st National Convention.

While in New Orleans we also had some down time, during which I had the opportunity to tour the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.  Since it was my first visit to New Orleans, I did suffer a bit from culture shock.  The city is a great place, and I found its culture to be very intriguing.  I was amazed at the lack of fast-food chains, but also by how great the food was!  One of my favorite parts of the trip was taking a haunted history tour, which explained the burial processes in New Orleans (which is very different than other places in the United States).  The tour also included a stop at the Hurricane Katrina Memorial, which honors the lives lost during Katrina and serves as a burial ground for individuals who were never identified after the disaster.  Overall, I had a great trip and did not want to leave!  I feel that the knowledge I obtained and the connections I made will benefit me greatly in my future as a pharmacist.

IMG_20170803_120852I had a great time exploring the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum!

For more information regarding the Kappa Epsilon Professional Fraternity, please visit kappaepsilon.org!

-Taylor Scott, P3