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

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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

Did you observe?

It was a great day to be a Campbell Camel! Dr. Brian Jenkins and wife Dr. Amy Jenkins, both Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Doctorate of Pharmacy graduates, rode a real life camel while visiting the Noah’s Ark Replica in Williamstown, Kentucky. Dr. Jenkins is a life-long CU & CPHS supporter and reported that “riding a camel was a great day in the life of a Campbell guy!”. Dr. Jenkins was also voted Preceptor of the Year in 2016 by the PharmD class of 2018. We’re so glad these two are part of our Campbell “Pharmily” and shared this photo with us! Brian Blog .jpg

Food is Fuel (for studying)

Since classes have begun and the endless bake sales will be starting shortly, I have been searching for an easy Pinterest recipe to make for this year’s fundraisers! I was able to find a recipe for Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies and I must say, they are amazing. Although they take a little longer to make because the recipe calls for homemade cookie dough, they are definitely worth making if you love to bake or if you need to reason to procrastinate this semester. They can also be made with store bought cookie dough; however, they aren’t as delicious and they turn out very thin!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Serves: 24 very large cookies

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Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) of softened butter

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 package double stuffed Oreo cookies

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together with a mixer until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. In medium bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.
  4. With a cookie scoop, form balls with the dough.
  5. Place one ball on top of an Oreo cookie, and another ball on the bottom. Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until a large ball is formed and Oreo cookie is fully enclosed with dough.
  6. Place onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets (cooking them in muffin tins will help shape them better) and bake cookies for approximately 13 minutes or until golden brown (mine took about 15 minutes to cook all the way through). Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

-Shannon Brown, P2

Motherhood In Pharmacy

I like to compare motherhood in pharmacy school to some sprinkles added to the sundae that Campbell CPHS has served me.  Pharmacy school is no easy task and neither is working off a Sundae, but it’s a journey that we have chosen to take when we chose to pursue pharmacy. Much like all the running you have to do to run off a Sundae, the sprinkles of adding children are beautiful and delicious, but also extra calories that are added to the dish.

While I entered pharmacy school with tons of anxiety (who doesn’t), I found a home and many friends who have made this journey worthwhile. In my first year of school I had to establish a work-life balance and this was done by joining clubs and not forgetting about the friends that I could not bring to school with me. I feel as though it is essential to establish a community and a tight-knit group of friends that you can rely on during this crazy time in our life as there are often times things that you don’t expect that will happen—it’s part of life.

Life happened to me my P2 year when I learned the week of my second pharmacology test that I would be expecting a baby in May. This was not planned and was life-changing without a doubt. While I did not let this keep me from continuing to strive to do my best during this year, sometimes my best was studying for only a brief while each day as naps and emotions took over most my time. BUT, I MADE IT. I made it through the year with sometimes struggling through exams and I now realize that it is not only pregnancy that can do this to you, but there are and will be struggles faced by you and all your classmates. Everyone asked how I did it, but much like them it is about looking in the mirror in the morning and encouraging yourself, leaning on your friends and family when you need them, and above all- getting on your knees and letting God take over.

During orientation this week, Dr. Wallace emphasized relying on God and putting your total trust in him and while Type A personalities dominate the majority of the pharmacy student population, sometimes that truly keeps you from accepting life’s challenges. I accepted the challenge of motherhood and while it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time (4 weeks after spring finals was my due date), there are still days that I know I’m going to have to run extra hard to burn off the sprinkles on my Sundae. My son is my pride and joy and brings lots of color to my life. He is my encouragement and outlet and though he takes a lot of work, he has become my new motivation to be a better woman.

I hope to encourage all of you who have obstacles that come before you during your journey of pharmacy school. My family has encouraged me greatly along the way, and my dad sent me a heartfelt message of “you took the road that wasn’t easy and it would have been much easier to give up, and I’m very proud of you for not,” when I completed this last year of pharmacy school.  Without him and the encouragement that I received through many others, the year would have been extremely tough- with or without pregnancy. I made it through P2 year with lots of tears, but happiness too. And little did I know all that it would pay off when I held Westin for the first time. The satisfaction of working through something that you didn’t think you could and truly excelling is

Stay tuned for more updates on how motherhood will be during pharmacy school. I envision that some days, a blown-out diaper will be much more challenging to handle than a therapeutics case and that my greatest joy will come from watching Sesame Street with my son after a long day in Maddox.

Here’s to another great year with what God has in store for us.

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  • Shannon Hart, P3

Everything Happens for a Reason!

“Everything happens for a reason” is what I told myself when I pulled lottery number 78 for hospital rotations. Being from Apex, NC I was hoping to get a number low enough so I could do my rotation at a hospital close to home like Duke or WakeMed. Luckily, pharmacy school has given me, along with frown lines and wrinkles, friends unlike any others. A friend and classmate, Madison Gaskins (coincidentally the coordinator of this blog you’re reading), volunteered for me to come stay with her at her house in Lake Waccamaw, NC outside of Whiteville for the duration of our hospital rotation. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to live in paradise on a lake for a month and I packed up my white coat, my dog, and my kayak and off we went to Columbus County, NC.

Madison and I were both extremely anxious our first day of rotation at Columbus Regional Healthcare Systems in Whiteville, NC because neither of us had ever been in a hospital pharmacy before and we had no idea what to expect. We were there for a grand total of 15 minutes our first day when they called a Code Blue and off we ran with our preceptor, Dr. Brian Jenkins, up to the 6th floor. After that adrenaline rush, it’s safe to say we were a little anxious about the remainder of the month. Little did we know we were walking into one of the most welcoming and nurturing learning environments I’ve ever been in. Throughout the course of our rotation we truly got to experience IPE (“interprofessional education” for those of you that aren’t Camels yet) at its finest. We spent days in the operating room, with the local veterinarian, in the Donayre Cancer Center, with physical therapy, with the local pediatrician, in the microbiology lab, on the ambulance with EMS (well, Madison did—I was afraid I would be sick riding in the back LOL), and in radiology. We even got to sit in and learn about the emergency medivac team and helicopter! I’m sure I’m forgetting something we did because it was a whirlwind of a month but we really got to get our feet wet in the hospital observing a ton of different health professions.

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The one & only, BEST preceptor around, Dr. Brian Jenkins! (left to right: Tess Wells (me), Dr. Brian Jenkins, & Madison Gaskins)

Our time in the pharmacy was filled with an immense amount of learning opportunities as well. We were quizzed on dosing and adverse events, explored how hospital differs from community pharmacy in a lot of ways, learned the ins and outs of hospital administration, and even did a couple of overnight shifts where we learned more about sterile technique and compounding IVs. We got to attend rounds with physicians and nurses/case workers. This was something both Madison and myself enjoyed because it allowed us to hear about the patients and the coordination of their care. We also helped with a diabetes project which gave us experience running patient reports and allowed us to see how the hospital administration can direct patient care by looking at the epidemiology of the patients coming through the hospital. This part was particularly interesting for me having completed my Masters of Public Health coursework at Campbell before pharmacy school. I gained so much insight into rural healthcare at Columbus Regional that I would have missed if I had got my wish and done my rotation in the Triangle region.

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Sterile Compounding in the middle of the night… Yes that time is correct.

Overall, the month of June flew by so quickly I can’t believe we spent a whole month in the pharmacy but we had an amazing time and learned so much. My personal highlight (other than working in the pharmacy with amazing pharmacists) was getting to witness a c-section and I’m sure Madison would say her highlight was not vomiting in the ambulance ride. We have countless memories from our month at Columbus Regional and they wouldn’t have been possible without the direction of such a wonderful preceptor. With the unforgettable experience at the hospital, the warm hospitality I received from Madison’s family, and the food (no, really) Whiteville had to offer, it’s safe to say I had the best month I could have asked for. So, remember, everything happens for a reason!

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Me, Dr. Kelly Howard, & Madison with the amazing art work Dr. Howard made as a gift for us!

P.S. If you’re ever in that neck of the woods—you gotta go to Ward’s Grill downtown. Just do it.

— Tess Wells, P3